Review: Theatr Iolo - This Is How We Die @ Chapter
I didn't really know what to expect for this piece. Billed as "surrealist trash", amongst other things, I pictured a quirky take on creative writing and the like.
How wrong I was.
What followed was writer/performer Christopher Brett Bailey's stream of conscious, verbal diarrhoea and it was mesmerising.
He floated onto the stage with hair half-Eraserhead, half-Goku from Dragon Ball Z. His appealing American accent helped his deadpan demeanour for the blackest of comedy. His story was a sharp-witted, curt and honest take on an Americana road trip romp that could have easily been thought up one inspired afternoon.
With a girlfriend who smokes via a mouse, her literally Swastika-shaped father and her body-builder mother (this makes sense if you see the show) begin the story on the most eye watering of absurd introductions I've ever heard. With lesbians who crash into their house, killing her parents, the road trip of the two lovers begins, but where do they go exactly?
In a homage to beat poetry, B-movies, storytelling and other mediums, Bailey's work sucks you in the moment it begins. Only at the end did we have to sink into our seats as the largest and loudest of electric guitar music is played to us on huge speakers, almost to deafen us in the process (near unbearable!). The ending left the audience in disbelief towards the shows directness and also the mini concert we had just experienced.
There were no prisoners, Bailey bidding farewell to one audience member who found the whole experience just too much. His "bless you" for another sneezing audience member shows he was perhaps listening to us as an audience as much as we were listening to him. The talk was of most things, never enough time to appreciate their beauty and thought-provoking nature. How the system is dying and attempts to improve it/make it anew are cause for concern in his prose, but whether we got a real solution is debatable.
Bailey was a manic marvel to behold.
Joyously visceral, bitingly honest and totally hilarious.
Rating: 5 stars
Photo Credit: Jemima Yong via The Public Reviews