Review: Unburied Treasures/Strip Search, Rosemary Branch Theatre
Published in Time Out, 27.04.2010
Like a Heat magazine for the stone cold, Unburied Treasures exhumes apocryphal tales of celebrity corpses and spins them into a series of witty ditties. Mark Bunyan’s book is a curiosity shop of posthumous peculiarities, covering everything from Evita’s embalming to Ines de Castro’s coronation.
However, for all Bunyan’s ticklish turns of phrase and the relish of a well-balanced and characterful ensemble, it rather runs out of puff with half an hour remaining. Wry asides and contrived bickering can only sustain a show for so long and Bunyan’s didactic finale, though drolly self-aware, is not quite recompense enough.
It makes an unusual aperitif – and, trust me, you’ll need one – for Strip Search. Squaddie, a former teenage rent-boy and soldier, strips to fund a gambling addiction. His increasingly fiesty monologue, which weaves through his life story, is intercut with flashes of his striptease act.
It’s uncomfortable viewing, which suits well the social injustices within, though the opportunity to use the act’s choreogrphy and song choices politically is missed. Titus Rowe, himself Boyz magazine’s Stripper of the Year, perfectly balances boyish vulnerability with cocksure machismo. Peter Scott-Presland’s text is as clever as it is outraged, making Strip Search a (back, sack and) cracking piece of fringe theatre.