Capital Fringe Review: ‘Bareback Ink’ by Andrew Baughman

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Bareback Ink, a new play written and directed by Bob Bartlett, is a work of art based on the Ganymede myth that will speak to each beholder in its own way. For me, it made me contemplate volatile relationships I have experienced in my own lifetime, and those I have witnessed around me. What force draws two fiery human souls together? How can the attraction between them be so strong when they bring such misery to one another, and when the damage is done, how do they reconcile the good memories with the bad? How did it all begin? Did he strike up a conversation in the supermarket? Was she a friend of a friend at a party?

Bartlett’s tale takes place in a tattoo parlor, a place where tattoo artists and their clients experience one of the most intimate of human experiences. The process of tattooing serves as a poignant metaphor for any intimate relationship: it is painful, pleasurable to some. It creates art that is permanent, and not easily undone.

“The Artist,” played by DC Cathro, is a gruff and introverted sort with asexual tendencies… but he has a caring heart, and perhaps even a longing to love and be loved. “The Canvas,” played by Grant Cloyd, is a wild young Adonis type with a tortured past and an air of danger about him. He taunts and temps the Artist, frustrated and confused by the Artist” imperviousness to his sexual advances. The Canvas seems desperate to escape an unhealthy relationship with Zeus, an unseen but constant presence, represented by rumbling thunder.

Cathro and Cloyd are both dynamic and attractive performers. The palpable sexual tension they create between them is electric, building to a fever-pitch climax that is thrilling and terrifying. Bartlett is one of our city’s home team stars, a formidable playwright whose work is at once poetic and biting. Don’t miss this gripping production before it moves to Edinburgh Fringe!

For more information on the play or to purchase tickets, see our fringe preview.

 

 

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