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Bane: Part Two
Published on Sunday, 23 May 2010

I wouldn’t ordinarily have chosen to see this – I didn’t see Bane: Part One, and in any case a ‘film noir parody’ was not likely to be my kind of thing. But I was at this great venue on Friday, and was struck by their promise that this would be ‘one of the best performances of the festival’; it was some claim, and I was tempted along.

The key is in the word ‘performance’. I honestly don’t know whether I’ve ever seen the equal of Joe Bone’s talent. I watched rapt as he not only transformed by the fleeting fraction of a second from one convincing character to another entirely different one, but also had them converse with one another as though they both – and not Bone – were on stage. He somehow achieved the amazing feat of being omnipresent, yet not there at the same time!

As if this were not enough to take on, he also performed without a single prop, and conjured these to my imagination as his need arose. Only the absence of a smell reminded me he was not actually smoking; the rasp of the cheap plastic lighter as it ignites was unmistakeable – yes, Bone provided the sound effects as well. The evocative accompaniment of guitarist Ben Roe was a bonus.

Upon a bare stage and with a minimum of floorspace, Bone got stuck in the middle of the road in busy traffic, he climbed a spiral staircase, he as near as damnit became a horse... I could go on and on, and still not do justice to the rare variety that is Bone.  I can only guess at the level of energy and commitment it takes for him to be so at ease that he disappears at will into these characters. Sculptors reveal the shape of their vision in stone; Bone creates his whole set as though from thin air.

I say most reluctantly that the actual storyline – the ‘film noir parody’ – however well performed, didn’t hold my interest. This should not however detract from my recommendation to see this performance: last night’s audience applauded to encore. To be in the presence of one so talented is an inspiration, a joy and a wonder. When I pause now to think of the special effects TV shows provide to wannabes to burnish their moment of fame, I am relieved to be reminded that there is such a thing as raw, unmanufactured talent.

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These are archived reviews of shows from Brighton 2010.  We keep our archives online as a courtesy to performers, and for readers who'd like to research previous years' reviews.