Anya Anastasia has been residing in the Royal Croquet Club Black Forest for the entire Fringe thus far, firstly with 'Torte e Mort' and now with 'Rogue Romantic'.
While both shows contain Anya’s daring physical comedy, accomplished piano skills and intricate lyrical word play, her newest show lacks the smooth and clear narrative arc of her previous Marie Antoinette bio-cabaret.
While the lyrics of many of the songs touch upon deep philosophical themes relating to love, lust and satisfaction, it is possible that audiences will conclude that the governing ideology of the piece is that because finding 'the one' is too hard, masturbation is the only solution. While this gag was delivered well, it is a simplification that is not characteristic of Anya’s work.
There are threads within the evening that demonstrate there is a broader message. For example, on one song she sings “you are not my everything because that would mean without you I am nothing”. The show is riddled with such one liners; you will never think of the phrase hard liquor the same way again.
Nevertheless, the theme of finding self-love sexually, emotionally and spiritually to replace the need for the love of another that was readily apparent within the songs could have been more obviously emphasised in the narrative. Many, if not most of the show's songs are strong in isolation, her backing band was tight and each innovative audience interaction met with success.
However, there was some doubt about where it was all leading and some discomfort on the journey as a consequence. Anya remains a prodigious and inspired writer but it is essential that she receives directorial assistance that harnesses her creative instincts and ensures that all the one liners coalesce into a coherent prose.
'Rogue Romantic' plays The Black Forest at Royal Croquet Club until 19 March.