Strips of raw steak hang in pairs around a clinical-looking platform covered in white plastic sheeting. They also dangle from a clothes peg pinching ELOINA’s vulva in a literal depiction of the crude term, ‘beef curtains’. She hated this part of her body when she was 10 years old. Since then she has come to understand this self-loathing, that can result in surgery to minimise and reshape a person’s labia, is the result of unrealistic genital depictions. Whilst there’s little she can do to change the porn, media and pop culture industries, ELOINA can raise awareness and foster self-acceptance.
Belgian company Ontroerend Goed are fringe regulars who reliably provide innovative, provocative work that makes a refreshing change from British theatre and performance paradigms. This show is no exception. Layers of metatheatricality, direct address and a spirit of playfulness are used to consider how a performance is made, the truth and lies in storytelling, and language as a vehicle for meaning. Tight dramaturgy and constant surprise result in a consistently compelling production.
As her latest show further proves, Lucy McCormick is a queen of pop culture critique. Embodying her alter ego Lucy Muck, she debuts as a pop star but not one with the spit and polish of a music video. Instead she embraces an aesthetics of failure in both her design and dramaturgy. DIY costumes, gunge and water combine with her character’s emotional vulnerability to interrogate the high shine of celebrity and expectations of a music icon in this absurd and often poignant gig.
The Yard is at the forefront of innovative theatre and performance in London, and their NOW festival aims to share some of the most cutting-edge and relevant work being made, well, right now. Week Two presents Ultimate Dancer and Julie Cunningham’s fire bird, a double bill of striking visuals and classical music, with very different moods and styles.
I feel for the stage manager that has to coordinate the clean-up after this show. Soil, leaves, ketchup, chocolate wrappers, cherry bakewell crumbs, fake flowers and bodily fluids are everywhere. Lucy McCormick is certainly the queen of filth. She’s also ruler of the absurd, grotesque and biting social commentary. Though her previous show Triple Threat is more sophisticated than this one, comedy and vulgarity join forces as McCormick chronicles history’s strong women in the hopes of finding herself a hero.
It’s the 1980s. Big hair, shoulder pads and synth-pop provide a backdrop for Margaret Thatcher’s advocacy of the individual instead of a collective society. This results in a country that loves to go out dancing, but when crisis hits, people find themselves isolated and overwhelmed. Denise’s journey from cheerful disco queen to depressed carer unfolds through a fragmented monologue of nostalgia, song lyrics and sound-bites.
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.
Cosmopolitan’s current most-read article is a feature on a $35 maternity dress worn by Megan Markle. This is, as explored in performance artist Paula Varjack’s latest work, an example of post-recession celebrity dressing. Yet mixing a Gucci top with Topshop jeans is a distant dream to those of us who will never be able to afford to wear Gucci.
If you only go to one Muppet’s Christmas Carol sing-a-long this year make it Sh!t Theatre’s. Goody bags, whiskey and raucous jokes are all provided as we’re escorted through the movie by the charming Biscuit and Mothersole, whose witty subtitles only enhance this festive celluloid masterpiece.
There is so much to like about Biscuit and Field’s new show Paid Fantasist. Rebecca Biscuit (one half of Sh!t Theatre) and Nick Field are a charming, new double-act. They employ a fantastically kitsch science-fiction disco soundtrack, enviable gold lame and an impressive Kate Bush impression. The most intriguing thing, though, is the 1978 Times article at the centre of the piece, ‘A Life in the Day of Tom Baker.’