Creator: Christopher Brett Bailey
Venue: The Little House
Reviewer: Kris Hallett
Christopher Brett Bailey’s piece doesn’t so much sing as thrum. And it thrums very very loudly. His piece, which takes the prize for best title at this, or any, festival, takes the idea of theatrical gig and raises the bar to another challenging level. If it wasn’t taking place in the Little House you would struggle to credit it as a piece of theatre at all.
Part punk rock, part classical and always experimental it creates chiming ambient soundscapes that gradually increase in volume to room shattering levels from the speakers. The floor beneath reverberates at times with the feedback. The same chords are strummed repetitively until they feel a part of you. For those who pop in to check out what the racket is, it is complete bafflement, a mental tally confirmed people lasted a couple of minutes of bemusement before departing for other less baffling climes. For this reviewer, the feeling of bewilderment never fully evaporated but did make way to a strange hypnotic quality.
Bailey is an engaging front man, with foot high quiff and indie skinny jean attire that suggest he may have become waylaid on his way to the Obelisk arena. He seems engaged in some competition with a young Simon Stephens lookalike across from him and there are moments when they stare at each other in a ‘beat that motherf***er’ stare, early on Bailey flips him the finger. Is this just the cast jamming and having fun or are we meant to be reading more into this? Over an hour we look to the stage to give us guidance. There are no easy answers.
A glance around The Little Hoise takes inhalf the British alternative theatre scene, a sign that there is no one quite like Bailey creating work. But ultimately it is just too baffling and lacking in voice to feel like anything more than a short five-minute experiment dragged out over an hour.