Note: This review is from the 2018 Fringe

A special Installation space has been set up In the C Royale venue at the Edinburgh Fringe. The space is hosting two shows – Baby Paradise Part One and Part Two. The shows are being presented by German company Bambule.Babys. The space itself is a dimly lit pink and purple room with broken Barbie dolls scattered all over the floor. The room is intimate and holds fewer than 20 people. Performer, writer and director Anna Valeska Pohl is sitting on the floor playing with one of the dolls. She viciously chews gum and greets the audience in a lethargic and disinterested voice as we enter the space. 

During the show Anna Valeska Pohl simulates masterbation with a male Ken doll called Hades, tells us about the sexual exploits of female doll called Persephone and attempts to get the audience interested in the show. When you involve the audience there is always a chance that they won’t be up for participation. And tonight this is the case. Except for one person who thinks he’s in a Carry On film and laughs and sniggers like Sid James throughout, even when the themes of the show might be best experienced through the act of listening. 

With the disinterested manner of performer it is hard to see this show as being engaging in any way. Also the voyeuristic audience is not made to feel accountable for sitting back and watching a venerable woman in a vulnerable situation. It seemed like the audience were waiting for performer to get angry, show some passion and be more open. Instead we witness someone playing with Barbie dolls that happen to be named after characters in Greek Mythology. Baby Paradise: Part One ends with the performer telling the audience that can come back for Part Two where things will get darker. Read the review of Baby Paradise: Part Two to find out if this is the case.