If Only..! at The Bluecoat.

Posted on 2 July 2010
By Amy Roberts
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A brouhaha blend of local and national talent exhibiting the comical, the shocking, the grotesque and the experimental, under the guise of incredibly sharp arts performance pieces, If Only..! ranges from locally produced movie screenings to unconventional, musical performances.

Most of which possess the kind of rib cracking, painful hilarity which an arts institution like The Bluecoat is never usually associated with.

In particular, self-deprecating, rom-analytic performer Bryony Kimmings, manages to pull off what could be considered a severely cliched arts performance surrounding female and sexually physical dialects – songs about the vagina, outrageous outfits, a talent for the provocative – and not only that but manages to be absolute comedy gold in the process.

Yes, it’s a song about vaginas, delivered in the style of Bob Dylan in the video for Subterranean Homesick Blues no less, but the timing is so perfect, the innuendo so brazenly lewd (Fuckingham Palace, cat with a slit throat), that it’s nothing less than genius.

And come on, you’ve got to give props to a woman who can successfully persuade members of the audience to cut off their own pubes, before attaching them to a piece of cellotape and wearing them as a moustache.

Local tart of all arts, Craig Sinclair, has managed to get three pieces into proceedings. Two of which – movies – are wildly varying tributes to the Golden age of silent cinema. The Ladygrabber, a moustache twizzling menace of a short film, is a chortle-fest centered on the twee capers and dialogue of Teddy At The Throttle style silent slapstick.

Whatnot – an anti-bureaucratic, lush looking dream scape of a movie follows his performance of an extract from paranoid black comedy The Fix, in which he downs half a pint of full fat milk with all the gutso of a chap who understands that the merits of fine, bleak comedy is down to the degree with which the comic suffers. Perfect.

Two performances of Matthew Shlomowitz’ Letter Piece No. 5 – Northern Cities – including an insightful introduction from the composer himself, could very well be considered the synthesis of If Only..!

A composition structured around the positioning of actions, noises, phrases and sounds, both pieces are beautifully fractured, a synchronized duet-Tourettes perfectly assimilated on both occasions. The piece is dryly comic – oddball, and despite it’s seeming simplicity, is actually more complex than the audience may have even gathered from the initial honks, claps and snaps of it’s introduction.

If Only..! on Facebook: http://bit.ly/c3M0pA
The Bluecoat: http://www.thebluecoat.org.uk