Tag Archives: The Yard Theatre

Dadderrs / In A Way So Brutal

★★★ / ★★★★

The Yard Theatre

Dadderrs / In a Way so Brutal

Dadderrs / In a Way so Brutal

The Yard Theatre

Reviewed – 22nd January 2020

Dadderrs ★★★ In a Way so Brutal ★★★★

 

“This is an intensely theatrical evening, but it is stretching the definition of theatre, to the extent that you might well question it”

 

Just occasionally (I’ve only done it once before in my two and a half years reviewing for Spy in the Stalls) an assignment demands that I step out of the traditional anonymity assigned to the critic; last night’s double bill at The Yard was one such evening. This is visceral work that wants our involvement. And though, yes, there are elements of ‘audience participation’, that isn’t really what I mean. I mean, in LIFE. It is work that shouts, ‘BE ACTIVE. GET INVOLVED. THINK. QUESTION. LIVE.’ I’ll be turning 50 in a few months time, and was definitely one of the oldies in the audience, and I left feeling invigorated and excited by the creative possibilities being explored by these contemporary makers, even if not everything was to my taste. This is an intensely theatrical evening, but it is stretching the definition of theatre, to the extent that you might well question it. Is this theatre? Or is it performance art? Whatever your answer might be, it’s mighty refreshing to be made to think about it!

First up is Dadderrs, performed by husband and wife team – or husband and husband/wife team, as they introduce themselves – Daniel Oliver and Frauke Requardt. It isn’t a play, so much as a happening, akin to the work of 1960s performance artists, both here and across the Atlantic, and it combines many elements beloved of that period – nudity, paint, surreal costume, haze, audience involvement, singing and an otherworldly soundscape (credit here to Steve Blake’s terrific work). Frauke and Daniel invite us into their marriage, and into an uninhibited, intimate, honest, playful, shame-free world of their devising – the Meadowdrome. Daniel is dyspraxic and Frauke has ADHD, and the piece plays with their different tempos; in so doing, it invites us to think about difference, and how harmony can be found there. Ultimately, it is a piece about love. Spoken by an audience member and left hanging in the air as the stage is plunged back into the soundless dark, love is the very last word. Love.

Dadderrs / In a Way so Brutal

Coming back into the space after the interval, it’s clear that we’re about to witness a very different spectacle with In a Way so Brutal. (It’s also clear why the interval overran by 20 minutes!) The level of art and artifice has stepped up a gear, and we are presented with a stunning (and also seriously tongue in cheek) living picture. Eirini Kartsaki is posed like a Botticelli, all curvy flesh and flowing tresses, but…her nipples are suction-cupped with plastic, and there are Sarah Lucas-like stuffed stocking shapes adorning the ‘set’. Tasos Stamou’s table of sonic wizardry is lit up like a miniature futuristic cityscape, and Stamou himself produces sound as a chemist produces psychedelics. Quite apart from the exceptional music he was making, watching him work was hypnotic. Kartsaki is a powerful presence on stage, both visually and vocally. Although the words themselves seemed curiously ‘retro-shock’ to me, the combined visual, sonic and aural sense assault ended up seducing me with its fierce and sexy punk energy. And seduction by theatre is never a bad thing.

The Yard’s Now festival is billed as ‘the festival of the best theatre for right Now’. Whether or not you agree will arguably depend on what your experience of ‘right now’ is. If the status quo suits, this evening won’t be for you; if not, it might well be exactly the joyful, anarchic fix you’re crying out for.

 

Reviewed by Rebecca Crankshaw

Photography by Maurizio Martorana

 


Dadderrs / In a Way so Brutal

The Yard Theatre until 25th January as part of Now 20

 

Last ten shows reviewed at this venue:
Hotter Than A Pan | ★★★★ | January 2019
Plastic Soul | ★★★★ | January 2019
A Sea Of Troubles | ★★★★★ | February 2019
Cuteness Forensics | ★★½ | February 2019
Sex Sex Men Men | ★★★★★ | February 2019
To Move In Time | ★★½ | February 2019
Ways To Submit | ★★★★ | February 2019
Armadillo | ★★★★ | June 2019
Dirty Crusty | ★★★★ | November 2019
Pecsmas | ★★★★★ | December 2019

 

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Pecsmas

★★★★★

The Yard Theatre

Pecsmas

Pecsmas

The Yard Theatre

Reviewed – 11th December 2019

★★★★★

 

even the most prudish will find themselves revelling in the show’s risqué holiday showcase”

 

Pecsmas is the Pecs Drag Kings’ new festive show following the incredible success of their theatrical cabaret SEX SEX MEN MEN earlier this year. Directed by Celine Lowenthal and produced by Ellen Spence and Daisy Hale, Pecsmas is a queer Christmas show like no other. Four of the group’s Kings take to the stage along with a different special guest performer each night to deliver a tantalisingly sexy show that challenges toxic masculinity while maintaining comedy at its core.

John Travulva (Jodie Mitchell), Thrustin Limbersnake (Lauren Steele), Scott Free (Rosie Skan) and Loose Willis (Katy Bulmer) are the stars of this fast-paced musical extravaganza. On 11 December, Afro-Latinx, non-binary drag king CHIYO also joined the Kings and performed an explosively raunchy striptease in which he started off wearing a suit adorned with a glittery ‘F**K BORIS’ and strutting around a briefcase that reads ‘Tory Tosser’.

The show opens with the Kings lip-syncing to East 17’s Stay Another Day before Travulva establishes himself as host and welcomes the audience. Adopting the name of Santa for the festivities, Travulva wears a red and white Santa robe and fake beard and does an excellent job engaging the crowd.

There are plenty of classic Christmas tunes. Free, wearing an Elvis wig and the King’s signature white suit, sings Blue Christmas and Limbersnake and Travulva close the show with a rendition of All I Want For Christmas Is You while dressed as polar bears (the pun on the gay slang term ‘bear’ very much intended). There is a rousing sing-a-long of a parody of Oh I Wish I Could Be Christmas Every Day – in this case, Oh I Wish That Every Christmas Could Be Gay – which is a great way to involve the audience.

Another iconic Christmas reference is a performance of the Plastics’ dance to Jingle Bell Rock from the movie Mean Girls. There is strong choreography (Lauren Steele) throughout the show and the cast do well to keep up with some pretty intense steps.

The show gets markedly more explicit in the second half. Limbersnake has perhaps the raciest dance of the night as he proclaims that he ‘loves being chunky’ before stripping down from his chef’s attire into a mankini while spraying whipped cream over his body. Willis also has a seductive number where he rolls around in a pile of trash dressed in an all green suit, wig and even dyed underarm hair to resemble the Grinch.

There are strong political themes that run throughout in part due to the upcoming election. From CHIYO’s performance to overt appeals to vote Labour, the Kings do not shy away from making their anger at the current establishment known. There is also a vague plot of Willis trying to discover why he is so unhappy in himself by visiting toxic masculinity past, present and future, and the Kings make sure to note that Christmas can be a difficult or sad time for many LGBT+ people as so much of the holiday revolves around seeing family.

The stage is fabulous though simple. Silver foil fringe curtains act as a backdrop and run along each side of the stage and four Christmas trees surrounded by presents decorate. The lighting (James Dawson) changes according to the mood and sultry reds and pinks are used for sexy numbers. There are few props (which Travulva jokes about) but this in no way hinders the performance.

Pecsmas is a thoroughly unique Christmas spectacular. The King’s confidence and presence on stage can only be admired and even the most prudish will find themselves revelling in the show’s risqué holiday showcase.

 

Reviewed by Flora Doble

Photography by Harry Elletson

 


Pecsmas

The Yard Theatre until 20th December

 

Last  ten shows reviewed at this venue:
Call it a Day | ★★★ | January 2019
Hotter Than A Pan | ★★★★ | January 2019
Plastic Soul | ★★★★ | January 2019
A Sea Of Troubles | ★★★★★ | February 2019
Cuteness Forensics | ★★½ | February 2019
Sex Sex Men Men | ★★★★★ | February 2019
To Move In Time | ★★½ | February 2019
Ways To Submit | ★★★★ | February 2019
Armadillo | ★★★★ | June 2019
Dirty Crusty | ★★★★ | November 2019

 

Click here to see our most recent reviews