Army at the Fringe East Claremont Street (with Summerhall) venue 210

August 16 to 25. Not 20th 19.00

**** Four Stars

Here is an extremely skillful combination of song, spoken word, dance, physical theatre and outrageous and hilarious queer fantasy. Wonderful. And to have this performed at a Territorial Army base in front of guys in uniform and Polish dignitaries, and with a large appreciative audience laughing heartily – even better!

Cezary Goes to War is directed by Cezary Tomszewski, and is the director’s autobiography translated into camp fantasy. Early on, the ways in which recruits were assessed and graded when Cezary was recruited in the 1990s is lampooned mercilessly. There is a pianist and singer, and some patriotic songs are performed.

Recruits arrive in their underwear for inspection, then dress. Amongst the diverting delights to follow is a version of Nijinsky’s Apres midi d’un Faune, very affected and effective, and rib-tickling.

The company, Komuna Warsawa, is one of the most important avant-garde independent theatres in Poland. They experiment at the borders of performing arts, video installation and music. Here, the performance is largely set in the four dancers’ dressing room at the barracks, with aerobics exercises of a queer sort performed with the help of a low bench which is the sole prop and is used with great versatility.

The company has won major awards in Poland and beyond, and has performed in New York, Berlin and elsewhere. It is a privilege and a delight to see them here. Get along to this one whilst you can and bathe and revel in the free queer imagination.

Tony Challis