Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Georgie Grace responding to Number 1, The Plaza by GETINTHEBACKOFTHEVAN

The first part of experiencing getinthebackofthevan takes about an hour and involves watching a performance; the second part happens in your head and may go on for days afterwards. Neither part is comfortable. At times you might get really annoyed. In the first part Lucy McCormick and Jennifer Pick will, amongst other things, call you a twat and tell you to fuck off. During the second part you might wish you had fucked off, or told them to, but by then it will be too late.

At the time you’ll be too polite for that. After a while you’ll be feeling a bit awkward. Also they will distract you with humour. Sometimes it will be very funny. It will also be annoying, and uncomfortable, and then funny, and then annoying again. You’ll be quite busy reacting to things. There’s shit on the stage; how are you going to react? Lucy McCormick put her face in the shit; how are you going to react? Lucy probably isn’t wearing any pants; how are you going to react? Lucy and Jennifer are wrestling on the floor, everything is covered in shit, and Lucy definitely isn’t wearing any pants; where are you going to look? When are they going to stop? Where are other people looking? Why are you worrying about where other people are looking? Are you looking at them to avoid looking at her fanny yourself, because that would be voyeuristic? Isn’t that voyeuristic anyway - now you’re looking at other people looking - where are you going to look now?

Have I spoiled it for you? Would you have been shocked?

Did they plan to make you feel awkward, voyeuristic, disgusted, annoyed, amused, embarrassed? Of course they did; they got there before you; you walked right into it. Your reactions are just material. Your disgust, your annoyance, your desire to stab yourself in the eyes just so you don’t have to spend any longer looking at Lucy McCormick’s fanny: you’re going to be dealing with this for some time and it’s all part of the work. That’s what makes part two so frustrating (and potentially lengthy): the show is tricky; it resists evaluation. It makes your reactions part of itself. Which is clever, if annoying, but eventually leaves you neither here nor there. Maybe that’s intentional too. Maybe now you want to stab yourself in the head just so you don’t have to spend any longer thinking about it.

getinthebackofthevan say they want to transport you. Do they? They will disconcert you, annoy you, make you laugh. Initially No. 1 The Plaza achieves an excruciatingly taut balance between discomfort, annoyance, and humour. It felt like being in a vehicle with a drunk driver: they’ve told you they’re fine, but after a while you’re ricocheting from one side of the road to the other, fingernails in the upholstery, and about to get into an argument. But as the show progressed, cleverly ambivalent hospitality gave way to a long drawn out hostility towards the audience and Lucy McCormick’s fanny fell victim to the law of diminishing returns. It annoyed me a lot, and then it carried on annoying me, and then I got bored of it and took a moment to be annoyed by the interlude of girls licking cake off each other, and then I just got bored of being annoyed and began to think are we nearly there yet? By this point they were yelling at me to fuck off home, and I was ready to, but it felt like the van was slowing down to a crawl and the doors were still locked. Even so, there was a lot to like about this show - a chimeric, degenerating double act, an underwhelming smoke machine, show tunes, and shit all over the place. It was provocative, manipulative, funny, and infuriating. To a point, all those uncomfortable reactions were doing something really potent, but I could have done without the fanny overkill and anti-climax - even if it was an anti-climax about anti-climax. If you’re going to transport me, keep your foot on the pedal. Tell me to fuck off if you want to, but do it at speed, as we’re approaching a corner - and then just open the door.

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