by the Dave St-Pierre Company, seen at the Warwick Arts Centre (Back before exams so you'll have to forgive the delay)
I was lucky enough to get a heavily discounted student ticket and was really intrigued as to what on earth I was going to find. Actually in all honestly I was terrified, going to see a show on my own described by critics as barbaric, horrific and offensive.
Walking in, the audience are greeted by a chirpy naked man in a blond wig chatting with the audience. Once all are seated, the cast emerge from amongst the audience, strip and proceed to climb physically over and around us. This pretty quickly weeded out a few of the crowd who headed straight for the exit, and I'll admit it made me uncomfortable. It's not often you get a strange naked man standing above your seat, his bits six inches from your nose.
But I got it.
They broke the wall between audience and actors so well that after the initial 15 minutes that most of the time you completely forgot that these dancers were naked, allowing us to see the comedy and the tenderness that infused the production. The dancing was truly beautiful, the choreography inspired changing tone in the blink of an eye.
Perhaps i appreciated it more because I was watching alone, as I could see other audience members glancing round looking for cues on how to react, worried about their partners/girlfriends/friends. My friends were confused and scathing at the idea of the show without having seen it, I can only imagine having to worry about their opinion whilst there as well as trying to figure out my own response.
The truth is that it is meant to be provocative, and clearly the media response is giving the show good publicity. There's no use pretending that the show isn't intrusive or that many people will not feel comfortable being that close to naked strangers. But for god's sake they give you every warning. The posters highlight the explicit material. I was warned by the box office upon buying my ticket. We were warned again on entering the theatre. It even had warnings printed on the ticket. Even if you miraculously miss all these hints that the show isn't PG then you can walk out whenever you want, no one is forcing you to sit there and stare at the naked dancers.
What annoys me is that I've had to spend time justifying the first 15 minutes, when the journey through the show is so spectacularly touching. I honestly have never seen such a beautiful finale as the naked performers combination of modern and ballet dancing on the water drenched stage, seeing the droplets cascading and rippling in an almost cinematic slow motion climax to the performance. So long as you trusted the company then you need never feel uncomfortable and this clearly emphasised the theme: intimacy.
I truly believe that Un Peu de Tendresse Bordel de Merde is a spectacularly touching and funny show not to be missed. The best thing I've seen all year. Thank you.
So Catrin Says x