Arts & Entertainment
2 min

Fringe Fest 2013: Erotic Tales from the Old Testament

One can find respite in a garden of bare flesh and violin Jesuses

With a cute boy on my arm (not something I frequently have on my arm or any limb), I pass through the gates of St George the Martyr Church on John Street. I theorize (to the boredom of my companion) that there probably was once a church on the site, but what now remains is a looming brick tower at one end of a courtyard. We see that on two of its other sides the courtyard is enclosed by a big old house, one of the yellow-brick ones that speckle some of Toronto’s older neighbourhoods.

A robed and sandal-clad girl offers us some grapes and directs us to sit in the courtyard, “but not between the candles,” which carve a path from one side of the house to the peculiar tower opposite. The crowd takes their seats in the grass, and while the sun sets behind the tower in the west, more girls in robes pass among us offering grapes, and Jesus (sort of) plays the violin behind us.

What follows is a kind of irreverent, quasi-ancient variety show. The sinister and lesser-known biblical figure Lilith tells dirty stories from her life and the lives of other biblical figures, but her lewd comments are uninteresting, and her jokes and bad puns fall flat. (Eve “got the short end of the snake.” Really? Come on!) She punctuates her prattle by bringing out the characters she mentions, producing them one by one with gestures. They each do their bit, and that’s where the show gets good.

Most acts are male and female burlesque acts, with lots of curvaceous figures, bare boobs and a nice package or two (well, just one, but it’s good enough that it counts as two). There is a fantastic live band, which has nothing to do with the narrative — but is excellent, so who cares? — and a hilarious magician or illusionist who really knows how to work a crowd.

With birds flying overhead, dusk descending, a wonky magician toying with our minds, bare breasts and butts gyrating to the track "Lebanese Blonde" by Thievery Corporation (not to mention violin Jesus sawing away with his bow), I don’t mind the loose plot and persistent microphone problems and have a rare moment of relaxation, resting my head on my boy’s shoulder.

Erotic Tales from the Old Testament

St George the Martyr Church

197 John St