Cabaret & variety review: Lucy Hopkins: Ceremony of Golden Truth, [email protected] The Spiegelyurt, Edinburgh

Today has been one of those weird out of balance days at the Fringe, when people are crying one moment and laughing the next.

Lucy Hopkins teaches the art of being present through the medium of cabaret.

Lucy Hopkins: Ceremony of Golden Truth,[email protected] The Spiegelyurt, Edinburgh * * * *

It’s a challenge for Lucy Hopkins – who weaves her shows out of the energy brought by her audience. Hopkins, painted gold and dressed in a gold sheet held together with bulldog clips sniffs the atmosphere like an animal in the forest. The yurt - soft carpeted and mysterious - is the perfect venue for her. She plays her audience like an instrument, drawing songs, sounds and rhythms from us.

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The people have arranged themselves in a strange lopsided formation, with a small group of older women on one side and a large group of younger audience members on the other. Hopkins decrees the older women the wise ones, and creates an interplay between one side of the room and the other, contrasting the energy in a way that makes everyone feel they have something to offer.She’s an extremely strange but incredibly reassuring presence.

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Hopkins is utterly present and she coaxes her audience to become fully aware of themselves, their bodies, their voices and their breath. She flies around the room, an otherworldly vision in gold. She makes us laugh, she can be scary, surprising and witchy. She makes us think about the nature of performance and what means to be an audience.

One of the challenges of playing in the yurt is dealing with the outside noise, hearing snatches of conversation, bursts of music from the bagel van and the general hubbub of the bus precinct at night. Hopkins teaches us not to be distracted but to acknowledge the distractions and let them go. Inside and outside, all is the same, in this extraordinary transformative happening, which leaves its audience with a deep feeling of peace.

Until 25 August