Brighton Fringe 2007
Discomforting, intense, theatre of violence about the events around the crucifixion, full of energy, accusation and, of course, anger
Formed in 1999 by Steve Lambert and Dan Rob, Badactheatre are utterly committed exponents and explorers of Theatre of Violence pioneered by the likes of Artaud.
We enter a theatre already filled with actors deep into the intensity of physical and emotion anger. Repetition of phrase and much expletive is employed to build an atmosphere that centres around the experiences of the physical death of Jesus.
Accusations fly as to who ran from Jesus and who stayed to support him. We are taken through the events on Golgotha and the writing speculates on the real historical account and how it may have been manipulated; “The prophecies say he saves us… there is nothing in the prophecies about the Messiah dying”.
This piece must break the world record for the most utterances of f*** and c*** on an hour and, if this is intended the capture “How real people talk”, it defeats itself a little as the violence inherent in the language peters out in a performance that feels overlong for its purpose.
What cannot be faulted it the sheer commitment – both physical and emotional, of all of the performers, and their ability to create an atmosphere of metallic electricity.
It didn’t work for me, but it clearly did for many in the audience. Some comments included “Amazing”, “intense”, “incredible inner energy of the actors”.
Some of the set pieces were so powerful I felt the audience stop breathing, the image of Jesus standing almost throughout the whole show, in a pose of crucifixion is an enduring one.
There isn’t anything quite like this in UK theatre and it is well worth seeing it for that. The adventure into the physical limits of physical and emotional performance, combined with an intriguing take on the Jesus story, combined with some excellent verbal and physical choreography give this slightly repetitive and overlong piece a well-deserved four stars.
Overall, breathtaking, intense, and impressive physical theatre.