"A skinfully executed poetry show"
by Alex Malgua for remotegoat on 16/08/09

With the likes of Rosie Wilby, Clair Benjamin and Gill Manly - just to name a few - the Royal Vauxhall Tavern proved until now a certain flair for eclecticism in the line up of their first Hot August Fringe. Still a night of true cutting edge performance had had yet to come. Courtesy of his new one-man show In The Name Of The Flesh performance poet Ernesto Sarezale gave this festival the thought-provoking touch it was lacking.

In The Name Of The Flesh is a surreal mix of poetry and videos with a dose of skin cleverly revealed in a fine burlesque style; Ernesto introduces us to an atypical world of volatile belly-buttons, wicked invisible lesbians, up close and personal workaholics - where Soho becomes by night your uninhibited favourite self-service for some pleasurable sexual encounters. It's witty, sordid, darkly humorous, sincere and so well-written.
However the most fascinating part of the show, if not one of its main strengths, is Sarezale's relation to (his own?) nudity: if you had the pleasure to see Ernesto in full poetic action before, you'd certainly be aware he treats his audiences with a Full Monty at some point of his set; interestingly enough, during his one man show the "naked" poet let us wait until the end of his Workaholics' secret frolics to completely undress and reveal himself in character.

In spite of its omnipresence, the nudity is clearly not a gimmick; in fact these moments of full frontal are quite sporadic and seem deliberately - or not - to manipulate the audience's constant indecision towards a shameless or uncomfortable voyeuristic behaviour. Then again the very well edited video montage adds some dramatic effects to Sarezale's supposedly exhibitionist performance. While they generally complement his poetic exploration of the skin, some, at times, subtly offers to the audience to see a personal side to the Poet - the utterly funny showreel of some Eurovision's outrageous and grotesque performances are one perfect example.

Ernesto has successfully brought his one man show to the Hot August Fringe, with a genuine sense of bravery, vulnerability combined with an engaging performance. Unfortunately, all in a rather distracting atmosphere! The compulsory music opening the night was delightful but unsuitable; Nathan Evans's sluggish compering was absolutely unnecessary while the constant traffic of some audience members - during the show - who clearly had a lack of basic education was simply irritating. The world-famous Royal Vauxhall Tavern might pride itself for showcasing a variety of "cutting-edge" performances, it's just a shame they couldn't learn quickly from their artists how to make their nights the true Cabaret experience these deserve!

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