Reviewed – 18th November 2018
“a bit weird, a bit erotic, rather silly, generally accessible, and quite short”
Two boys in skimpy underpants hop across the stage, arrange cucumbers on the floor, and you think, “Oh, it’s going to be one of those shows.” Vol 2.0 is a bit weird, a bit erotic, rather silly, generally accessible, and quite short.
At just under an hour, 45 Feet Tall’s Vol 2.0 doesn’t contain a lot of action. Much of it consists of the performers skipping in place, as if with an imaginary jump-rope. There is a fair amount of hoovering of the astroturf floor, and eating of cucumbers, and smashing of cucumbers against the astroturf floor, and a bit of play-wrestling, and some dialogue.
The theme, as far as I could tell, is distance and closeness; closeness, when welcomed, forming intimacy, and when unwelcome, causing intrusion. Whilst performing individual tasks, such as vacuuming the floor, the performers intrude each other’s space, get in the way of each other with entertaining physical exaggeration; but also, when they are aligned in their actions, they show a bond of personal closeness.
There are attempts also to pull the audience into this bizarre and personal world. The performers share intimate details about themselves in brief addresses to the audience, trying to drag us into their space, then punishing us for getting so close. Towards the end of the piece, one of the men writhes and shakes on the floor; we want to look away, but we know that we mustn’t. The approach is methodical – bring the audience closer to make them more vulnerable. It’s like Miss Havisham plotting to destroy the hearts of men, but decidedly more twinkish.
That is the white cotton elephant in the room – the decision to dress the performers only in shirts and underpants was probably meant to emphasise their vulnerability, but it inadvertently gives the show a dimension of confused sexual politics, beyond which it is distracting and a bit silly. (Especially with all that jumping, if you get what I mean).
Reviewed by Louis Train
Photography by Ali Wright
Previously reviewed at this venue: