Feeling it right, Florence Bell unpacks Celebration
This is one of the best plays I have ever seen. It will without a shadow of a doubt be one of the best things I see in 2017. I want to see it again and again and again.
It’s impossible not to imagine Celebration transferring to Soho Theatre. Meg Vaughan will love it so much she’ll make a zine about it. Complicite will buy the rights to a livestream. This is so unlike anything I have seen before and I want more theatre to be like this. I feel like really miserable plays (Hamlet, etc) could do with a bit of Celebration at the end just to liven things up.
The last thing I expected the show to open on was a dance. And I definitely didn’t expect dad dancing. To define Celebration as feel-good would be a discredit it because it’s so much more than that. Although the show is effectively a shot of joy into your life, it’s also an exploration of art and what it means to celebrate anything and everything. There isn’t a moment that isn’t beautiful. With the exception of one or two songs in the first half, there is nothing I can fault. Virtually every line is laugh out loud funny.
There’s Donald Trump fanfic and a sort of wrapping paper tent/house thing and gold face paint and falling over and some fucking great music and some great existentialist jokes. And it all just WORKS.
*SMALL THREE MINUTE STEP BACK* At one point Clara Potter-Sweet and Ben Kulvichit leave the stage for a three minute costume change. A writer is invited on stage to perform. On the night I saw it, Kate Wyver offered a brilliant and touching celebration of a man’s life which led to a really emotive coming together of the audience.
There’s no need to justify a three minute pause in the show. It’s there because it is. It’s there because Ben and Clara said it is. Technically the whole show is surplus to requirements and that’s what makes it beautiful. *BACK TO BUSINESS*
Celebration is a show that you can’t not enjoy. Clara Potter-Sweet and Ben Kulvichit are clearly so intelligent and full to the brim with good ideas. The show is centred around their relationship and the show wouldn’t work any other way. There’s a real delight in their sibling-like relationship. It’s impossible to imagine this show working any other way. I feel like I’ve genuinely gotten to know Ben and Clara as people and I probably haven’t.
I can’t possibly express everything this show is without writing an in-detail summary and absolutely everything in it, and even that wouldn’t do it justice. You must see it.
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Photo credit: Giulia De