Theatre review: Ubu On The Table

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Alfred Jarry’s Ubu Roi is a juvenile parody of Macbeth-style murderous excess.

Star rating: ***

Venue: Summerhall (Venue 26)

It throws a raw, rude and ribald two fingers at the world with a cartoonish swagger. All the more fitting, then, that the ascent to power of the tyrannical Ubu should be presented with brash, bumptious humour and staged on a table top with the principal characters represented by household implements – objects not known for their nuanced characterisation.

With a mixture of casual banter and precise manipulation, Étienne Blanchette and Mathieu Gosselin of Montreal’s Théâtre de la Pire Espèce give a surprising humanity to a series of inanimate objects. Ubu is a bottle of salad dressing, his wife is a washing-up brush, Captain Bordure is a hammer and the forces of opposition are inverted teapots, their lids forming gaping smiles.

It could be ruder: apart from an early scene of cork-related fellatio, it is family-friendly stuff that has more volume than vulgarity. But it fulfils the promise of its own absurd logic as it builds to an over-the-top battle scene involving a fusillade of grape bullets and tomato bombs raining down on a ramshackle army of toothbrushes and rusty pizza cutters.

Until 28 August. Today 2:35pm.

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