Pain(t), New Wimbledon Theatre

Ali Wright,

by Tom Brocklehurst

The New Wimbledon Theatre is hosting a series of Richard Foreman’s early avant-garde works from the 1960s and 70s. Based on that sentence alone, you will already know whether you’re interested in coming along.

The first piece of the season, originally staged in 1974, delivers on its expectations – it’s odd, faintly amusing, challenging and absolutely nonsensical.

“There’s something liberating about making a piece that has absolutely no meaning” said one of the cast in the post show Q & A. And they’ve certainly done this. Try as they might, any audience member will struggle hard to find any kind of narrative in these short scenes.

The cast, dressed in Elizabethan costumes, walk slowly about the stage, intoning lines as if each utterance is painful. Lights flash on and off. A doll suspended from the ceiling seems to be narrating the action. Nothing happens.

Whether you enjoy this piece entirely depends on your view of this sort of work. To some, it will be a pleasantly challenging piece and an interesting look at 1960s avant garde performance from the founder of New York City’s Ontological-Hysteric Theater. To others it will be a gigantic waste of time.

Pain(t) runs through 16 March.

The Play’s the Thing UK is committed to covering fringe and progressive theatre in London and beyond. It is run entirely voluntarily and needs regular support to ensure its survival. For more information and to help The Play’s the Thing UK provide coverage of the theatre that needs reviews the most, visit its patreon.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s