Anatomy Presents Cabaret-on-the-Edge at the Traverse Theatre

Anatomy, based here in Edinburgh, produces art in the cabaret-style, bringing together a wide and wild variety of acts from across Scotland and beyond. Founded by Ali Maloney and Harry Josephine Giles, who cite their twin inspirations as the Victorian music hall and the underground performance art night club, they are committed to the belief, ‘that art is better the more different the people are who are making it’. They recognise no boundaries and therefore call on all and any marginalised groups to come forward and present their work, continually pushing to reach new arts communities and potential new audiences.

Every three months Anatomy produce a cabaret performance for adults, but have also ventured into early years theatre, producing matinees for kids aged 0-5years. Currently at the Traverse Theatre they are presenting Anatomy: Finest Cuts, recalling acts from their five-year archive in a celebration of all that is weird and wonderful, terrifying and strange. Often bizarre and quintessentially quirky, this is theatre on a knife-edge.

There are eight performances during the course of the evening and the only thing they have in common is that you will rarely have seen anything like any of them before – unless, of course, you are a regular Anatomy follower. Not all will perhaps suit your mood or your tastes but Anatomy is not afraid to put anything out there, committed to the belief that there will be something for everyone somewhere in the mix. And they are right.

Highlights of the evening include Melanie Jordan who performs an excerpt from her Scotsman Fringe First Award-winning Sanitise. Part mime-artist, part dancer, part clown, Jordan has a light and playful touch tinged with something darker and more sinister. It’s an absorbing piece from a consummate physical performer. More disturbing but equally compelling is Cultured Mongrel’s It’s Not Over Yet. Performed by Emma Jayne Park using movement and text, you are invited to share her take on the journey she went through while undergoing treatment for cancer. She sits in a chair with long, flowing hair, moving fluidly to Robbie Williams’ ‘Angels’ while gradually pulling out all her hair, at times experiencing pain, at one point defecating smarties that pool noisily around her feet. It’s very funny and eerily engrossing.

Noise-dance band The Cloud of Unknowing perform Palimpsest, an almost unbearable cacophony of musical noise, voice-overs of political statements and jerky, angular movements. It addresses the bombardment of voices and messages that rain relentlessly down upon us and aims to cut through the bullshit that threatens to drive us all mad. It’s discordant, distressing and disturbing. Another standout performance is Sara Zaltash’s SEX SEX SEX, in which she sings snippets of well-known songs and makes explicit statements about sex and sexuality while naked, bathed only in ultraviolet light that reveals the glowing marks she has made on her body and a disturbing shade of lipstick. It’s sharp and original.

With a further four very different mind-bending performers interspersed with Ali and Harry’s surreal potted history of Anatomy, this is a fearless night of pick-and-mix entertainment that is not for the faint-hearted.
Runs 10th & 11th May