All under one roof, raving

12 April 2017

Comedy, poignancy, politics, funky dancing – Celebration covers it all and enterains while it does so, says Joseph Winer


As we’re waiting in our seats for the show to start, the two performers (Ben Kulvichit and Clara Potter-Sweet) are standing in the corner of the stage, having a little pre-show chat. They seem pretty relaxed. The lights dim. They step into the space and stare out at their audience. Nothing happens for a few seconds. Then they start dancing. These sort of funky, drunk dad-dancing moves come out of our two young performers. They each pick up a can of silly string and spray it at each other. They then make some promises: one of which is to not mention Trump (at which they fail immediately by mentioning Trump in telling us he won’t be mentioned) and another is that we will be entertained for the next hour. And we are.

Celebration is about the body, about conflict, about politics, 2016, 2017, love, war and parties. The whole show is a bit like a massive party. It’s awkward and clumsy; it’s filled with moments of failure, and this is what makes it so entertaining. Music is recorded live. Costume changes happen in front of us. Everything has been carefully planned, but to the point that spontaneity still thrives. Kulvichit and Potter-Sweet don’t take themselves too seriously and it’s a pleasure to be involved and celebrate their joy with them.

Too many pieces to count have tried to tackle the political mess of 2016. Celebration is a completely refreshing take on everything that’s happening. It confronts the dichotomies of human existence (which apparently all takes place in one very large Ikea) and the ambiguities between war and peace. There’s a section where they each jump into each other’s arms, taking it in turns. After a while, Kulvichit is no longer able to keep hold of Potter-Sweet, who falls to the floor like a rag doll.

Amidst the comedy, there are moments of poignancy. An audience member is asked before the show to prepare a small talk about their life at the moment. There is a real person right in front of us, presenting their joys, fears and vulnerabilities. Kulvichit and Potter-Sweet are honest and upfront throughout. We learn of their backgrounds, love-lives, education and hopes for the future. We learn about their bodies, the way they move, the music that inspires them.

Celebration is ultimately a deeply personal, heartfelt and honest piece of performance art, which just so happens to make us laugh as we sit back and watch the party. I very much look forward to seeing what Emergency Chorus come up with next. 


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