Review: Experimentica Day #4 @ Chapter

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Review: Experimentica Day #4
Chapter Arts Centre
Saturday 1st April 2017

For my sins, I sadly missed half of the fourth day of Experimentica (I had dog walking duties). Therefore, I cannot review the artist film selections of These Rotten Words and Jonny Cotsen’s Louder is Not Always Clearer. After hearing the praise for Jonny’s show which has a focus on deafness, I hope it gets a second wind soon.

Eventually making my way to Chapter with pooch in hand, I waited outside to meet with Dustin Harvey and Adrienne Wong. Their piece Something Bigger, started in the Peilot Room and continued to Chapter’s garden, as participants took photo’s related to directions given on Instagram. Thankfully, my friend Tabitha was able to experience all parts of this journey, as the conclusion was back in Peilot and what was captured was discussed. There was even chocolate cake.

Here’s what Tabitha had to say about Something Bigger:

Brilliant time exploring
The streets of Cardiff.
Memories anew,
Experiences of the the blue.
Free cake
And balloons too. 

From Something Bigger, we moved onto Passing Through devised by Julie & Robbie. This work wonderfully captures the essence of experiencing disability, not letting a wheelchair define you and the joy of making the most out of life. Julie has an honesty and openness about her body and we silently cheered for her all the way. She of course brushes off any challenges and is content in making us laugh.

Joining her is Robbie, the charming and handsome Scot. At times he is physiotherapist, in other moments a dance allay to Julie, as they both fold and rest around one another. The stacking of wooden slabs to help raise up Julie, becomes in itself a type of performance art, though one of a high practicality. Film work showing the same stacking in Bute Park and further afield is pleasant, though what we really want to see is more live dance, should bodies permit.

Ending the night with a bang was Work Shy, the first theatre piece by Katy Baird. Hailing from Glasgow, she shocked and made us merry in her critique of all her previous occupations. These included Burger King, Wetherspoons, bar work, Job Centre Plus (she regards being on JSA as an occupation in itself) and other roles that would discredit anyone else. She is never glamorising or glorifying her time as a drug dealer, but merely stating the facts and made for a gripping part of the night.

Her audience participation mostly involved me, as I had the misfortune to be sat in the front row. Pulling me out of my seat, she had us both filling a bucket with a queasy, watery ketchup concoction, so that we could reenact a bizarre Burger King ritual. Asking me to aim for her face, I missed dramatically and the horrible sauce fell on the floor, then splattering on the theatre curtain. I staggered away in disbelief at my appalling aim and turned to grab the theatre door and leave (this got a laugh from everyone…at least).

Her love of statistics had us with arms in the air, answering her questions with gusto (even with bizarrely incorrect tallies at the end). Some of us booed the only person in the theatre who gets paid more than £40,000 a year and the figure for those who had never tried illegal drugs was surprisingly high (it is Cardiff after all). Perhaps her darkest hour, was being an online cam girl. Lulling us into a false sense of security , she had literally ordered chips from a local chippy for us all to munch on. During this, she began to strip and then urinate in a bottle.

As the audience, sat with mouths open, the show hurtled itself into a dangerous territory of having several audience members vomiting. I reminded at man behind me that “This IS Experimentica!”, after his cry of “What have you taken me to?!?!” All this was justified as she then recreated a cam video and the fact that men would actually ask her to consume her own urine. Several spectators could be horrified but what went on here, yet her insights and deadpan brilliance are what makes this show so awesome. We ended with a tonne of drinks she had with her and after I gave her a hug to apologise for the miss and congratulate her on the show, she told me wryly “Careful, I’m still a bit pissy!”.

Won’t you come and enthral us again soon, Katy?

Shocking & insightful.


Something Bigger: 5 stars (as rated by Tabitha)
Passing Through: 3 stars
Workshy: 4 stars

Experimentica will return in 2018.


Photo Credit: Guido Mencari

Weeping Tudor Productions returns with their next project: Jamais vu [Brexit means Brexit]. Come join us at the Wales Millennium Centre on Wednesday 31st May as we musically trigger Article 50. Expect flashes of Gertrude Stein, John Cage, Steve Reich, Luigi Nono, poetry, performance art and the joy that is Teresa May. Don’t be left behind. Tickets available soon. 


Review: Experimentica Day #1 @ Chapter

Review: Experimentica Day #2 @ Chapter

Review: Experimentica Day #3 @ Chapter

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