Cabaret & Variety review: Michelle Shocked: Truth vs Reality

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Edinburgh Festival Fringe: Cult singer/songwriter Michelle Shocked returns to the Fringe following last year’s intimate, in-the-round guerrilla gigs with an afternoon slot in the plush, dimly lit Boards bar of the Playhouse, which feels more like a supper club soiree.

The Boards (Venue 59)

***

Once again, she presents a rotating showcase of the three albums she recorded for Mercury Records in the late 80s and early 90s, with Short Sharp Shocked being the first out the hat. Some of her most ­enduring songs, from the expressive blues boogie of When I Grow Up via the conversational Memories of East Texas to her soothing hit Anchorage, are interspersed with an ­eloquently written career autobiography. It traces her journey from activist to artist and highlights a number of tensions – the truth versus reality of the show title – between how she saw herself and the projections made by her fanbase and the media, between the impromptu field recording which set her on the road to stardom when it was released as The ­Texas Campfire Tapes and her staunch objections to bootlegging her shows online.

It also details recent (and older) controversies ­surrounding allegations of racism and homophobia which have cost her concert appearances and her long-term relationship.

Until 16 August. Today 2pm.