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Published on 13 Oct 2008 | over 8 years ago

The great and perverse Dexter Augustus Edinburgh Fringe Show Taboo staged in 1991. Augustus staged daily shows in the front room of a respectable Edinburgh Morningside house to a maximum audience of six. He let the audience in for free and, on the basis that critics don't pay for their seats, to retain the protocol of inequality, he paid each reviewer £10 to come in. He refused Ruby Wax entry because he didn't like her coat.

On the roof of the house, he placed rave-sized speakers blasting out a repetitive egocentric two-minute ditty on a tape loop, which attracted police attention when local residents claimed they were being subjected to the aural equivalent of Chinese water torture. Augustus confounded Trevor McDonald and John Diamond on the BBC Radio 4 Midweek programme with 30 minutes of gibberish.

"Taboo, allegedly presented by Pink & Squeezy, is presented in a private house; admission is free, but the audience is vetted by phone before being told the location. At least, so the story goes. At the press performance, we had to sign waivers certifying that we had "disabled our critical faculties" by consuming at least two free beers before being let indoors. We were also given £10 bribes; well, critics have got to pay less than the public, and if it's free to the public... The performance itself consisted of an escalating domestic dispute, culminating in a game of Taboo (the "get your team to guess word A, without using words B, C or D" game) played by the audience as teams. (Charles Spencer of the Daily Telegraph proved particularly adept.) Then off we reeled, clutching even more free beers. A great way to pass an afternoon, but it bears as much relation to theatre as some pigs in a field." Ian Shuttleworth Financial Times

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