MusicalNorth East & YorkshireReview

Hedwig and the Angry Inch – Leeds Playhouse

Reviewer: Ruth Jepson

Director: Jamie Fletcher

Writer: John Cameron Mitchell

Music and Lyrics: Stephen Trask

Ladies and Gentlemen, and my friends beyond the binary. Whether you like it or not – Hedwig!

So starts the frenetic experience that is Hedwig and the Angry Inch. Part rock show, part comedy drag show, part heart wrenching exploration of love, loss and the trans experience, the titular Hedwig (Divina De Campo, Yorkshire Drag Queen extraordinaire) takes the audience through her life, starting in East Berlin behind the Wall, moving through relocation to America and a fateful meeting with a future rock star while she searches for her soul mate.

The laughs come thick and fast in this dark comedy. De Campo’s comedic timing and grasp of accents and voices is nothing short of genius, and the lady can certainly sing. Backed by a gender queer onstage band and ably assisted by husband Yitzhak (Elijah Ferreira) it is impossible not to be swept up into the story to the point of singing along even when not told to. The audience fall in love with Hedwig quickly, which makes the tragic tales of the latter half even more effective as they seep in over the course of the hour and a half single act show.

As well as the fabulous acting and singing, the whole thing looks beautiful. Di Campo sports a series of flamboyant, punk influenced costumes by designer Ben Stones, literally peeling off layers as Hedwig’s tale is told. Stones’ set also excellently evokes the British working men’s club, while videography from Daniel Denton adds an extra, transcendent touch to the songs. The only thing that lets the show down is some minor dodgy tech. The mic balance that occasionally means the band overwhelms the vocals, and one light that is blindingly reflected in a mirror and unfortunately risks distracting the right hand side of the audience from a couple of key emotional moments. Neither are things that should stop the show from being seen however. Keep your eye out for the scene stealing Gummy Bear too. And if that doesn’t pique your interest in Hedwig and the Angry Inch then nothing will!

Runs until 23rd April 2022

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The Yorkshire & North East team is under the editorship of Jacob Bush. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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