DramaLondonPhysical TheatreReview

Get Off – Battersea Arts Centre, London

Reviewer: Jane Darcy

Writer and Director: Katy Baird

To read the list of trigger warnings for Katy Baird’s show, Get Off, currently playing at Battersea Arts Centre, might well make you think this is not for you. The fact that ‘the performer will walk into the audience and interact with one member of the audience’ may well make you feel uneasy. Then we learn the performance ‘features a naked human body throughout.’ That’s right, Katy Baird, the self-described ‘old queer, fat, femme deviant,’ comfortably performs in nowt but a few coloured bands which conceal nothing. But there’s more. There’s going to be video footage showing, in the coy wording of the BAC, ‘the passing of human waste’.

But what these warnings don’t say is that Baird is somehow extraordinarily warm, inclusive and unthreatening and you may find yourself enjoying this surreal, funny, deeply odd evening. You may even find yourself envious when someone else is selected from the audience, given a mobile phone, and finds themselves on the receiving end of personal calls from Baird, who sounds genuinely relieved to connect to someone real. An invitation is issued to join her at her mum’s in Glasgow. Every possible boundary is broken, but this too is liberating.

To put this into context, Baird’s work is all about hedonism, about pleasure. And if we’re honest, even – especially – taking a shit has to be a pleasurable experience. As Baird argues, ‘mixing disgusting and inappropriate content with an approachable performance style is a strategy to make the audience rethink their perceptions.’ And it’s her almost hesitant delivery, her unselfconscious delight in weird dancing to pounding beats, her comic interaction with the unseen Stephen (‘my life coach’) that produces a strangely appealing sense that you’ve somehow been part of something communal, something friendly that you can hardly explain.

Runs until 24 May 2024

Disgustingly delightful

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The Reviews Hub London is under the acting editorship of Richard Maguire. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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