Laurie Anderson

Ian Collins Norwich Theatre Royal (Norfolk and Norwich Festival)

Ian Collins

Norwich Theatre Royal (Norfolk and Norwich Festival)

This was a blissful and blistering show by a performance artist who has been the epitome of cool for three decades even though blazing with fury.

Resigned to the fact that she wasn't going to sing O Superman - and Lou Reed wouldn't be duetting with his new wife on Perfect Day - I was blown away by the Homeland song cycle which our heroine is taking around the world before an album release next year.

As ever the Anderson target is American might and manipulation - stating/singing her critical case in voices mimicking Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen, a sinister minister and a Greek chorus. Nasa's former artist in residence moves from lament to lullaby to ceilidh, while noting that the stars can't be hurt by us (or the US).

Surreally placed amid a trio of old jazzers on viola, bass and keyboards, and scores of votive candles, the mistress of computer banks and toy violins produces a mix moving with a slow fuse towards incendiary conclusions.

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And just as the melodic menace is undercut by shifts from African beat to Irish jig, a general pessimism gains fresh poignancy with some great jokes.

What fun to recall Ann Richards, the sassy Texan governor displaced by George W Bush, puncturing a campaign urging the state's women to carry handguns in their purses with the words: “I'm no sexist but there isn't a single woman in Texas who could find a gun in her handbag!”

Being wed to the world's unlikeliest husband hasn't blunted the sad, sardonic tone of Anderson's lyrics as in The Lost Art of Conversation: “I pretend that you love me/ You pretend that you care/ I pretend that I'm happy/ You pretend that you're there.”

No pretence needed. Norwich loves Laurie Anderson.