Barnstaple Theatrefest 2015
Blasted fiction present a stonker of a piece that raises questions about the theatre ‘industry’ and what we, as an audience, expect from watching performance. Of course, this is framed with live guitar anthems, narcissism and nonsensical lists. Forced Entertainment eat your heart out!
When I walk into the Gallery on the top floor of The Queen’s Theatre, there is an atmosphere. A very. serious. atmosphere. I am being stared down by a Gorilla and three equally steely-faced blokes sat on stools at the rear of stage. There is an incredibly moody electric guitar riff playing on loop.
And so it begins; we’re introduced to Leah, Brantley, Conor and George who play themselves, obviously. (There’s no acting in this ’cause it’s not a play, did I mention that?) They bicker back and forth, banterously. The delivery is strong. Fast paced, slick dialogue, one-liners abound. The rapport between the performers is impressive.
The composition was varied and effective throughout. Though only using a few stools and a Gorilla mask, Blasted Fiction us the space inventively. There’s climbing on stools, climbing on each other and the focus constantly shifts around the stage. This gives the audience plenty of chances to give their attention to each performer.
Some combinations of dialogue didn’t sit that easy with me. At the beginning, Brantley and Conor gang up on Leah. ‘Don’t fuck it up Leah’ has a harsh bite to it. Later on Leah and Conor (the couple) make fun of Brantley. Conor eventually gets his turn right at the end. All is meant in jest though as George brilliantly demonstrates when he interrupts a chaotic moment to complain that ‘he hasn’t said that much yet and the audience are probably judging him’. The sarcasm is much-needed relief.
The unwavering lists and strings of questions do begin to wear thin as time goes on but they do make me think about what kind of art I chose to see and about the monetary value of art is, particularly live performance.
Watching Blasted Fiction was a joy. I’d recommend this piece over a play with an interval and ice cream and a ten-pound program with mostly adverts in, any day. Seeing the performers seamlessly pass the helm, take the spotlight and bounce off each other was great to behold. I’d like to add that the live music was a rare treat.
This company show great promise. Oh, and it was defo worth parting with a fiver… reckon the audience got their money’s-worth.