Monday, 22 May 2017

Wild Bore, May 19, 2017 ***

Created and performed by Zoë Coombs Marr, Ursula Martinez & Adrienne Truscott Presented by Malthouse Theatre 
Beckett Theatre, Malthouse, until June 4, 2017 
Reviewer: Kate Herbert on May 19, 2017
Stars: ***

 Review also published in Herald Sun Arts on Monday May 22, 2017 and later in print. KH
 Ursula Martinez (wearing a 'bumhead') –Tim Grey Photo
‘You will probably be offended. Actually, you will be offended,’ says the publicity about Wild Bore by Zoë Coombs Marr, Ursula Martinez, Adrienne Truscott.

And I was offended – but not by the plumply jiggling, naked bottoms perched atop a trestle table and talking into microphones.

Nor was I offended by the performers’ full frontal nudity or the scatological language or the swearing or even by the chocolatey stuff squeezing out of the padded ‘bum-heads’ that masked the performers faces (or should that be ‘faeces’?).

And it wasn’t the rambling, post-modern, self-referential, gender-political, meta-theatrical (Yeah, look that term up ‘cos they use it repeatedly) monologues or the absurdly silly dancing.

And I certainly wasn’t offended by their vehement and often hilarious attacks on theatre critics who have ridiculed or dissected former productions by these artists and others.

What offended me was that they didn’t quote me! Clearly, I’m just too dull or too nice a critic to be quotable. Of course, I expend a lot of energy avoiding being quotable because critics are misrepresented and misunderstood as often as are these performers.

Now, how do I write a critical commentary on a show that is a critical commentary on critics’ critical commentary on critically awful shows? I can’t so I won’t.

Writers like to be memorable, so plenty of critics write riotously scathing and unforgettable criticism that artists dismiss, so I try to write criticism that artists may heed – if I’m lucky and they are listening.

So, amongst the bums and puns and rants and dancing and finger pointing and gallumphing around the stage, there are some golden quotes from critics.

 ‘Al Pacino walks like an anchovy and looks like an unmade bunk bed.’ Oh, how I wish I’d written that! That’s Rex Reed’s achingly funny and vitriolic review of Pacino in David Mamet’s China Doll.

Martinez slices and dices a critic that accused her of building a brick wall ‘for no apparent reason’ in a show, and Coombs Marr has a go at someone who couldn’t tell the difference between ‘dramaturgical design’ and ‘whimsical incompetence’ in her previous production.

Anyway, there’s no point explaining or critiquing anything in Wild Bore except to say that some of it is really funny and some is desperately dull and indulgent. You may love it if you work in the theatre, or go to the theatre a lot, or love these three performers, or are just a sticky-beak. And it’s short!

By Kate Herbert 

PS: There’s one famous book of ‘the worst theatrical reviews in history’ and it’s called No Turn Unstoned and it was edited in 1982 by Diana Rigg – yes, Mrs. Peel from The Avengers (the proper Avengers from the UK in the 60s).
Oh, and I did write a scathing review once but you’ll need to scour every single review in my blog to find it. It was a beaut!

 Adrienne Truscott, Zoe Coombs Marr_Tim Grey Photo
 Adrienne Truscott, Ursula Martinez& Zoe Coombs Marr_Tim Grey Photo

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