Reviewer: Jacqui Onions
Blending art installation, film, physical theatre and drama, Smash It Up is a stirring, thought-provoking theatre experience that you will never forget.
Taking the demolition of The Chartist Mural in Newport to make way for a shopping centre as its starting point and focus, Smash It Up expands its thinking to explore destruction of art, and indeed destruction in art, both in the here and now and throughout history. Much more than just a 70-minute theatre show, performers Gareth Clark and Marega Palser (Mr and Mrs Clark), and Steven George Jones (of Newport art collective BOSCH) have created a timeline of performance in public spaces that have been filmed and feed into the theatre show element of this piece of art.
In Smash It Up we have a theme of destruction coupled with numerous multimedia elements to bring together so it is testament to the sheer quality of the performers, and the choreography from Catherine Bennett, that this is such a slick production. Passionate, emotional and rousing yet never overstated or over the top, the cast is utterly captivating throughout.
The multimedia aspects of the show add a great deal to the experience and are well thought out with intent and purpose, never just used for the sake of it. Beginning the piece with an art installation that the audience can walk around, explore and touch is a particularly interesting twist on the theatre experience.
The beauty of Smash It Up is that it makes you wake up and think and calls you to action without ever telling you what to think or do. Exploring the destruction of art as a loss, a protest and to spawn creation, this highly intelligent piece (which even gives you a reading list in the programme) does not force a message on you. Instead, it leaves you asking yourself “what will I do?” and will definitely leave you with a feeling of wanting to do something. Truly inspirational.
Runs until 27 February 2016 | Image: Contributed