The Fooligan & The Bridges of Madness (4 stars)

The Fooligan & The Bridges of Madness

credit: Elly White

Al Seed resurrects his puffed-up, wide-eyed monstrous storyteller, and brings a few musical friends along.

Even when he's static, Al Seed has a mesmerising quality. Sitting in a chair, his artificially rotund belly covered in 18th century garb, deep blackened eyes downcast to the floor, you still can't avert your gaze – wondering what it will take to awaken this beast.

As it turns out, it's a musical introduction courtesy of Emma Smith, David Paul Jones and Davide Rinaldi, a jazz-blues band in equally vintage attire singing about how they caught a 'Fooligan'. After which, he springs into life (as much as his enormous girth will allow).

It's just over ten years since Al Seed first unleashed this hideously compelling creature on the world, and its capacity to evoke, and feel, loathing is undiminished. Delivering the tale of a pompous King determined to unearth the finest story in the land, the Fooligan imparts how instead, he gifted the royal a tale so appalling, so lacking in morality, it killed all who heard it.

Despite some delicious language, the narrative itself feels a little slender, and there's enormous scope for expansion – but Seed's delivery draws you in with every grotesque move of his mouth. From his slicked-back hair to his pointy black shoes, the character oozes distaste but – much like the ill-fated bystanders in his story – almost dares you not to like what you hear.

The addition of musical interludes, including a bizarre yet oddly fitting rendition of Shakespear's Sister's Stay, only adds to the air of mystery. The Fooligan is back out of his box, long may he continue to roam and grow.

Reviewed at Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh.

The Fooligan & The Bridges of Madness

A modular, musical cabaret act presented by grotesque 18th century characters who form a merry band, The Bridges of Madness. Through songs, poems, soundscape, movement, dance (in the broadest sense), and storytelling the audience is taken on a hilarious theatrical journey, playfully exploring themes of mortality, the…

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