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Jerry Springer: The Opera

Musical Theatre @ George Square
6 - 10 Aug, 13 - 16 Aug, 20 - 23 Aug, 27 - 31 Aug; 6:30pm (8:30pm)

There's almost nothing we can add to the acres of newsprint already splurged on Jerry Springer: The Opera.  The target of an unprecedented campaign from the itself-controversial group Christian Voice, the show's brief UK tour led to picketing at theatres, complaints to the BBC... and even a ruling at the High Court in London.

But is it actually any good?  Long before he founded FringeGuru, our editor Richard Stamp saw Jerry Springer in its first large-scale outing, right here at the Edinburgh Fringe.  He remembers a well-constructed two-part musical, where an outrageous-but-hilarious parody of Springer's show contrasts with the post-interval "trial" of the host.

Springer's untimely demise at the end of the first act leaves him dangling between Heaven and Hell... and it's that fact, of course, which caused all the fuss.  The actors from the first half come back as afterlife protagonists; the knowing parallels between their pre- and post-interval personas are the source of the much-reported claim that Jesus wears a nappy.

Of course, this production isn't the West End version, and it remains to be seen how another company will cope with the undoubtedly challenging script.  In the original, David Soul had the title role spot-on; the portrayal of Springer will make or break this revival show.  And whatever your religious views, you'll find some of the themes uncomfortable - and the language very strong.  But despite all that, the return of Springer offers a rare opportunity: the chance to see for yourself, and make up your own mind.

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