Amelia’s Magazine | More Soup and Tart at the Barbican: a review

More Soup & Tart by Ben Jensen
More Soup and Tart by Ben Jensen.

It was always going to be a tall order to recreate the seminal work of underground performance artists, viagra but the Barbican programmers clearly like a challenge: to accompany the current exhibition Pioneers of the Downtown Scene, more about New York 1970s (read my review here) More Soup and Tart was staged as a topical update of Jean Dupuy‘s legendary 1974 Soup and Tart. The premise was simple, order the audience was served with leek and potato soup on arrival, then treated to performances from over 30 artists who were each given a two minute window of opportunity to showcase new work. During the interval we were served (slightly dry and greasy) apple tart.

7. Ryan Styles. MST, Barbican 2011
Ryan Styles by Lou Cloud.

What ensued was a very mixed bag of work, featuring short pieces from established names such as Martin Creed, Ryan Styles and Simon Bookish alongside some lesser known artists. Quality was variable and there were a couple of instantly forgettable performances (particularly film) but those that did work were punchy and engaging, creating a long lasting impression. The giggly Friday night audience were prone to outbursts of chuckling at the slightest suggestion of humour, which was just as well since there was much to be had. Here’s my pick of the best…

11. Simon Bookish. MST, Barbican 2011
Simon Bookish. He appeared in Amelia’s Magazine some time ago!

Edwina Ashton,  MST, Barbican 2011
Edwina Ashton – Lobster Song/Lobster Singing.

In the first half Edwina Ashton entertained with Lobster Song/Lobster Singing, featuring two creatures with lobster features who plucked at upturned guitars in a vaguely depressive manner before shuffling offstage. The success of this piece lay in the offbeat juxtaposition of crazy costume and very ordinary stage set up, a pretty girl in undefinable traditional dress at hand to turn the sheets of music. We are currently listing her exhibition at the Jerwood Space.

Stewart Home Barbican
Stewart Home – Spam Turned Upside Down.

Stewart Home then highly entertained with Spam Turned Upside Down, whereby he stood on his head and recited cock enlargement offers for celebrities. It was short, memorable and again, crucially, amusing.

Nicoletta Tiberini led a Sounding Poem of carefully placed harmonies from her choir, which were dotted around the auditorium.

Mothball Marcia Faquhar by Ashley Fauguel
Mothball performed by Marcia Faquhar. Illustration by Ashley Fauguel.

For Mothball Marcia Faquhar removed a giant fake fur coat from a vacuum bag and proceeded to dance around underneath it, flinging her heels off in several directions before being forcibly removed from the stage. This was, I imagine, the closest to the spirit of performance art in the 1970s, which is maybe why it worked so well.

2. Andrew and Eden Kotting, MST, Barbican 2011
Andrew and Eden Kotting.

Andrew & Eden Kotting performed the most poignant piece titled Hiding From the Big Guns (Can I Kick It? Yes I Can) which consisted of a man leading a shrouded figure as it kicked a can across the stage against a backdrop of slides that showed the same camouflaged figure in different locations. On reaching a record player the figure was encouraged to kick at the turntable until the shroud was removed to reveal Andrew’s daughter Eden, who suffers from a rare genetic disorder called Joubert Syndrome. It was a profoundly strange and awkward moment that served to enhance the preceding piece.

13. Frauke Requardt. MST, Barbican 2011
Frauke Requardt by Lou Cloud.

Frauke Requardt‘s Episode consisted of two androgynous leotard clad clowns who danced in acrobatic synchronicity against an eery backlight… this was presumably a preview for the new show starting at The Place in June. It was a very effective taster because I now wish I was going to the full performance.

Holly Slingsby by Lou Cloud.

The first half ended with Holly Slingsby performing Minotaur in a China Shop (Golden Calf Version) which entailed a lady in bull mask and gold dress chucking plates against the floor.

Lucy Beech and Edward Thompson, MST, Barbican 2011
Lucy Beech and Edward Thompson.

Into the second half: for Lucy Beech and Edward Thomasson‘s 7 Year Itch a group of amateur dancers took to the stage in costumes reminiscent of childhood gym classes. They then created a sport inspired sequence which broke down into its component parts to reveal the thrashing, groaning, sighing sounds of the act of sex – very clever indeed.

Tom Woolner by sanna dyker
Tom Woolner by Sanna Dyker.

Tom Woolner donned a huge blow up head to perform An Early Episode from the Life of Archimboldo, wherein he proceeded to pick his nose in slow motion until a vast green goblet descended to the floor.

Penny Arcade. MST, Barbican 2011
Penny Arcade.

Bad girl performance artist Penny Arcade had flown in from America to give her acerbic take on the Vagina Monologues: this was in effect a short comedy skit.

Dog Kennel Hill Project, MST, Barbican 2011
Dog Kennel Hill Project.

Dog Kennel Hill Project performed Death Scene 347 with the aid of random objects to create the sound effects: concrete blocks, sacks of potatoes and a belt. It was delicately beautiful but I have a burning question… why was it necessary for one of the performers to appear in her pants?

Sam Lee, folk singer and old friend of mine, then stood to perform from the middle of the audience. It was the perfect musical interlude and rightly received a great round of applause.

Tai Shani 2, MST, Barbican 2011
Tai Shani.

In the second half of Tai Shani‘s To Dream and Die in America a group of extras appeared, I think to represent various Hollywood icons. Apparently it is de rigour for every piece of performance art to feature a random naked lady, and this was the piece to do the honours in More Soup or Tart.

Potentially the most absurd performance came courtesy of Tim Etchells, whose And Counting purely relied on members of the audience to shout Now at random intervals. Cue much cackling.

Christian Marclay‘s Smash Hits 1991 upset me greatly: for his two minutes he proceeded to smash a large heap of records and through it all I kept thinking: but what if there’s something good in there? This kind of wanton destruction pains me greatly.

33. William Cobbing, MST, Barbican 2011
William Cobbing – Mobile Home.

We finished on William Cobbing‘s surreal Mobile Home… a globular slab of clay tugged across the stage as the inhabitant pushed it’s arms out of holes to smear and slap the wet clay around in a nosily seductive manner. Like all the best performances of the night it was simple, surreal and instantly engaging.

I hope there is More More Soup and Tart soon.

Categories ,1974, ,7 Year Itch, ,An Early Episode from the Life of Archimboldo, ,And Counting, ,Andrew & Eden Kotting, ,Ashley Fauguel, ,barbican, ,Ben Jensen, ,Christian Marclay, ,comedy, ,dance, ,Death Scene 347, ,Dog Kennel Hill Project, ,edwina ashton, ,Episode, ,film, ,folk singer, ,Frauke Requardt, ,Hiding From the Big Guns (Can I Kick It? Yes I Can), ,Holly Slingsby, ,Jean Dupuy, ,jerwood space, ,Joubert Syndrome, ,Lobster Song/Lobster Singing, ,Lou Cloud, ,Lucy Beech and Edward Thomasson, ,Marcia Faquhar, ,Martin Creed, ,Minotaur in a China Shop (Golden Calf Version), ,Mobile Home, ,More Soup and Tart, ,Mothball, ,New York 1970s, ,Nicoletta Tiberini, ,Penny Arcade, ,Performance Art, ,Pioneers of the Downtown Scene, ,Ryan Styles, ,Sam Lee, ,Sanna Dyker, ,Simon Bookish, ,Smash Hits 1991, ,Sounding Poem, ,Soup and Tart, ,Spam Turned Upside Down, ,Stewart Home, ,surrealism, ,Tai Shani, ,The Place, ,Tim Etchells, ,To Dream and Die in America, ,Tom Woolner, ,Vagina Monologues, ,William Cobbing

Similar Posts:

Amelia’s Magazine | Dance Review: 2FacedDance presents In The Dust at The Place, London

2FacedDance by Katrina Conquista
2FacedDance by Katrina Conquista.

It’s only in the past few years that I have acquired an interest in contemporary dance, a fact I put down to my boyfriend’s refined cultural tastes. So when The Place invited me to the latest instalment of 2FacedDance I jumped at the chance.

2FacedDance tom dale
The evening comprised of three very different dance pieces by different choreographers, performed by the same troupe of dancers, who must surely have been absolutely exhausted by the end. The first piece by Tom Dale – named Subterrania utilised the whole company and was by far my favourite piece. Against a backdrop of music by dubstep pioneer Shackleton the men (for they were all men) by turns shuffled and leapt across the stage like latter day urchins – in faded dandy jackets and dress shirts. The choreography effectively combined elements of many dance styles, including break dancing and capoeira, with the dancers climbing on top of each other, dismantling into formations and recombining for a grand finale dance off. I could watch this dance over and over again.

Next up was a piece that may or may not have been sponsored by the OlympicsFreddie Opuku-Addaie‘s Politicking Oath was a humorous piece that saw the three dancers by turns goading, competing against and helping each other as they explored the psyche of professional sport. It featured the clever use of sports related moves and included the use of some strange props, including an alarm clock and a pig’s head mask.

The In the Dust of the title was the final piece, by Tamsin Fitzgerald. I hadn’t really thought about it beforehand, but yes, there was a lot of dust involved. Sitting in the front row I struggled to keep a clear throat, so god knows how the dancers managed, as they bounced up and down in great clouds of what I presume was chalk dust. The emotion of loss was writ large in the evocative moves of the dancers.

Many of the dancers with 2FacedDance have trained extensively in different forms of dance, as well as touring with pop stars on the commercial backing dancer circuit, and their expertise certainly shows. But throughout the performances it was by one dancer in particular that I remained transfixed – the tiny powerhouse that is Hugh Stanier. With ginger dreads flying, he embodied his dance moves in a way that was totally hypnotic.

Categories ,2FacedDance, ,Break dancing, ,Capoeira, ,Contemporary Dance, ,dance, ,Freddie Opuku-Addaie, ,Hugh Stanier, ,In the Dust, ,Katrina Conquista, ,london, ,Olympics, ,Politicking Oath, ,review, ,Shackleton, ,Subterrania, ,Tamsin Fitzgerald, ,The Place, ,Tom Dale

Similar Posts: