Christine and the Queens Presents Redcar review – heartbreak, passion and a pile-up of props

Redcar at the Royal Festival Hall.

‘Throughout, his voice remains a thing of wonder’: Redcar at the Royal Festival Hall. Photograph: Gaëlle Beri

Royal Festival Hall, London
The French singer’s latest incarnation makes for a rivetingly theatrical evening full of high emotion and often impenetrable symbolism

The pipes of the Royal Festival Hall’s enormous organ provide the backdrop for this one-off London performance by the French artist often known as Christine and the Queens, currently going by the name Redcar. The instrument’s visual grandeur adds gravitas to a stage set strewn with plaster-cast saints and Virgin Marys. Although the devotional candles are beautiful, a giant red rendition of the archangel Michael and a suit of armour surrounded by flowers border on kitsch. It’s all in keeping with the supplicating, chivalrous bent of the singer’s latest album, Redcar les Adorables Étoiles, released a fortnight ago.

This medievalist fantasia is interrupted by neon lighting, road cones and a TV that plays unexplained footage of the Harlem Globetrotters basketball team or wild horses running. More intriguingly, a large moving camera mounted on an articulated neck takes up centre stage. It spies on Redcar and mirrors his movements. Eventually, Redcar wonders aloud if this robot is an angel. Later, he will cuddle it like a pet. At other times he interacts with a blue sickle moon, beseeching it directly then using it as a swing.

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