I really am not sure where to start with this one. OK, let’s start with the summary that I had read on it before.
A boy collects tears in carefully labelled jam jars; a girl is horrified that her best friend thinks her father is ‘hot’; a young boy bricks himself up in a Lego tower; and a young girl wears her mother’s shoes… The Fat Girl Gets a Haircut and Other Stories is an original work created and performed by a company of teenagers, with artist/director Mark Storor. Their candid tales – on themes of love, family, sexuality and religion – are revealed in 13 explicit portraits. With a live band, animation and video in a 360 degree setting, The Fat Girl Gets a Haircut and Other Stories creates a vision of the world as experienced through the prism of teenage years. Running time 1hr 15mins (no interval). May not be suitable for under 12s
Sounds rather intriguing, doesn’t it? And it was also in one of my favourite venues – the fantastic Roundhouse in Camden. What’s more, we got free tickets, which you can’t really go wrong with!
So, what was it about? I honestly have NO IDEA at all!
This wasn’t anything like what I was expecting. This was a mostly silent (apart from the musicians – who were actually VERY good, especially Gabi Froden, the singer) ‘interpretive’ telling of 11 ‘stories’. I say ‘interpretive’ because they were very open to interpretation.
I shall give you an example.
When we got in there (stage in the centre, audience all around in a circle) and the actors were standing on the arms of some of the chairs equally spaced around the circle under spotlights. When the lights went down, one of the lads started taking his shirt and trousers off, and he had a small doll strapped with masking tape to his chest. He made his way to a white plastic sheet that was on the stage and begun cutting paper, when all of the other actors picked up bottles of ketchup and sprayed him with them, until he was covered head to toe in ketchup, and unable to stand up, so he kept falling down.
He then cut off a lock of his hair, masking taped it to the doll’s head, removed the doll from his body, and sent it off in a small paper boat into the sky, that had just been drawn down by two of the girls.
That was the first vignette, and I don’t want to give too much away to people that want to go and see this, but I want to give a feel for how confused this made me.
From stuff that I had read before, I knew that this had been a long project worked on by Mark Storor and the actors (they were all young teens I believe). And that the stories were about stuff they had experienced as a kind of ‘coming of age’. I kind of thought that this first one might have been about abuse, and him trying to save his inner-child, but after that I was pretty lost.
Quite a few in the audience left during the performance, which we thought was a bit unfair – especially the ones that left when there were just two ‘stories’ to go…they had made it that far, what harm would it have caused them to stay?!
Overall, I thought it was…interesting. I wouldn’t be telling everyone to rush out and see it, I wouldn’t be telling people not to bother, but I think that they should go and see it with their minds open, and have to be of a type who is happy to see such a surreal and interpretive performance.
Oh – and we didn’t see any fat girls get a haircut!
*** EDIT *** UPDATE *** EDIT ***
Just read this: “Actor Jacob Crossley has Asperger’s syndrome and it was his experiences which inspired one of the show’s stories.
Burlesque Boy is about a teenager with an aversion to body hair who fears that everyone wants to kill him. He also has questions about his sexuality.”
well, I think my experience of the show may have been VERY different if I had known more of the stories behind each of the stories, as I didn’t get that at all from my experience, but it makes sense in hindsight.
Perhaps there should have been an explanation given out with the running order…
…hey girl, superstar DJs, HERE WE GO!!!!
On Saturday, me and The Man traipsed off to the Roundhouse to see the Chemical Brothers. It was the 4th time I’ve seen them, although it’s been three years since I last saw them at the free gig they did in Trafalgar Square.
I love the Chemical Brothers – and even though they’re not ‘showmen’ (as they just sit behind loads of techy equipment) oh my GOD do they put on a show! And the Roundhouse is probably the best place I’ve ever seen them (twice now) as the curvature of the space allows them to have a curved screen, which really immerses you in their fantastic visuals.
The were showcasing their new album which comes out soon, and having already fallen in love with Swoon, the first single, I had high hopes. And I was not disappointed. it really was a show of two halves – the first was all their new album, which was amazing – a far more defined feel to it, I think – it all sat together really well and had a bit more ‘maturity’ to it. The raw energy of some of their earlier stuff has been replaced with something more finished, deeper, more layered.
And oh, how I danced. I danced and danced and danced. It was a fantastic feeling, and one I haven’t had for a while. I wish I had another gig coming up soon. Would’ve liked to have seen Faithless, but they were on same time as The Chems.
I bought The Man tickets to see The Damned next month, but it’s really not my thing, so he’s going with my mad mate Surely that can’t be my last gig until Lovebox in mid-July!
Finally – the last part of the first half, where they finished playing the new album. I’m afraid it’s someone else’s video as I was too busy dancing!!
Since doing my leg in, I’d been thinking that I wouldn’t be able to make it to the event, but after contacting the organisers on Twitter, they arranged for me to exchange my standing tickets for seated ones in the balcony (which were twice as expensive!) – it was a very good move, and we had a pretty decent view!
As it’s only down the road from work, I got there first, and was loitering around the entrance, trying to work out who the people were that were being papped…I later found out that they were mainly various radio presenters, so didn’t feel too bad about not recognising them.
Then Neil Morrisey came and asked me a question (very trivial) but I felt slightly starstruck – and he really played to the crowd when he was presenting a little later, spoke a few words about the disaster and how we should all be doing whatever we can to help the people of Haiti and actually shouted out “Can we fix it?”…corny, but it was appreciated
So, Marcus Brigstocke was the main presenter, and I know I like him anyway, but he was better than I thought he’d be – a bit more near the mark than he usually is on TV and radio – I guess being live you can get away with more!
So – first act was Nate James. i’d heard his name before but that’s it. The start to the gig was bad. His voice was really good and soully, and I was impressed with it, the only thing wrong was that his first choice was a cover of ‘What’s Going On’ but with lyrics about Haiti. Ugh!!! WHY???
Next up was a band called The Humans, and I turned to C and said “Is that Toyah?” and yes, indeed it was the woman but it’s a mystery why the hell she was there (see what I did there?) – she was mental as she ever was, but in a really bizarre oh my god what the hell is this racket kind of way! She looked good, and I loved the dress, but no. Never ever accost my ears with that noise again. Please God!
Next were Bombay Bicycle Club, fresh from winning Best New Band at the NME awards the previous night. I saw them at Lovebox last year – in fact had specifically got there on time to see them as they’d played early. They were pretty good, but it was still early, the place wasn’t very full and I don’t think their usual energy was there. They were far better at Lovebox.
So, it wasn’t looking THAT great so far. But next up were Futureheads who did an acoustic set – just the three of them on guitars. they did three tracks, one that I didn’t know, but The Beginning of the Twist and Hounds of Love were brilliant – and way better than I was expecting from them.
Interspersing the acts, while all the techies were sorting the stage and equipment out were various comedians, etc keeping the audience upbeat. At some stage, two very very nervous young lads came out and didn’t do great, but I swore blind that I recognised to them, and turned to C and said “They were in Misfits! He could turn back time, and he could make himself invisible!” it meant nothing to C but I was pretty sure that was them. In the middle of their stumbling banter, one of them said “I’m not quite sure what we should do now!” and someone from the crowd shouted “Use your super powers!!!” and they laughed and said they couldn’t use them in public, so I felt glad that I’d recognised them! It was a surprisingly entertaining series – I wasn’t expecting it to be much cop, but ended up watching every episode!
So, the next act for me were the really pleasant surprise. The little hidden gem support that I would never purposely have listened to, but now definitely will! They were the Lovely Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly. I can’t explain what got me about them, apart from the lead singer (and brilliant classic guitarist) seemed to have so much passion and energy. i loved his voice, and he really seemed to inject so much into the music. Their stuff is a lot less dancey etc than i would normally be attracted to – a hell of a lot lighter, but it was really enjoyable, and they were really entertaining – and they had brass instruments too, which I love.
I am blabbing on longer than I thought I would, so I’m going to stop here, and come back to the rest of my rather lengthy review, but I had a quick look on YouTube for Cape, and there doesn’t seem to be THAT much of their stuff about, and I think they’r ebetter performers than shows on their vids, but I actually like this, because I think the video is really clever