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Celebration review at Zoo, Edinburgh – ‘eccentric and intelligent’

Clara Potter-Sweet and Ben Kulvichit in Celebration at Zoo, Edinburgh. Photo: Giulia Delprato Clara Potter-Sweet and Ben Kulvichit in Celebration at Zoo, Edinburgh. Photo: Giulia Delprato
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Celebration is a small but glorious remedy for despair. Ben Kulvichit and Clara Potter-Sweet acknowledge bewilderment and fright at the recent rise of right-wing politics and the grotesque state of the world, but then proceed to offer their audience a defiant hour of playful and eccentric enjoyment nonetheless. It’s a touching and thought-provoking theatrical gift, both earnest and ironic all at once.

Bespectacled and clad in unassuming pink T-shirts and jeans, Kulvichit and Potter-Sweet launch unexpectedly into a vibrant full-bodied dance that culminates in the squirting of silly-string. The song ends and the party atmosphere dissipates; panting, they attend to the pedestrian matter of cleaning up the stage.

Despondency nags at the fringes of the piece, but Kulvichit and Potter-Sweet channel its energy into imaginative spaces – there’s a particularly beautiful passage in which the latter describes a painting by Riva Lehrer of her dog Zora. With one milky eye and a veterinary cone-collar in place, Zora nevertheless smiles with “a well-loved dog’s unshakeable optimism”. It’s a meditation on compassion, almost ineffably lovely.

A similarly charismatic presence, Kulvichit tells of a fever dream in which Donald Trump is reformed as a smoky-eyed drag queen replete with a gorgeous, glamorous benevolence. Inspired.

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Verdict
Eccentric, intelligent show evokes joy in the face of the world’s wretchedness 
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