The Gloop Show
- Gareth K Vile
- 26 April 2019
A glimpse behind the patchwork veil
As drag becomes an increasingly mainstream concern, Oozing Gloop's amalgamation of complex geometry, wordplay and political commentary firmly embraces a queer aesthetic and ethic: despite the familiar elements – extended monologues that struggle to express profound ideas about identity and time's arrow, the brief video interludes and the hand-made quality of the scenography – Oozing Gloop's performance is both uncanny and distinctive, ripping through the failures of contemporary politics and theatrical convention with a wholehearted glee and broad humour.
The final entry in this season's Buzzcut: Double Thrills, The Gloop Show embodies many of the values that the programme has championed: queer identity, personal and idiosyncratic performance style, an anarchic attitude towards theatrical structures, and a positive attitude towards building a community during the show. Oozing Gloop's charisma – and cheeky asides – becomes a foundation for a disjointed, self-consciously shambolic ramble through contemporary alienation. Filtering acts of political cruelty and ignorance through a psychedelic optimism, Gloop veers from the intense to the trivial, hinting at a systemic philosophy that explains and redeems the fragmentation of the modern world, without ever landing on a solution.
Despite the audience's support and goodwill – which Gloop occasionally has to demand – the fragmented elements only rarely cohere into a clear intention. The sudden intrusion of incisive and precise critiques of Brexit, the Conservatives and political inertia are surprisingly tough, revealing Gloop's ability to provide a sharp analysis: the concluding chants for a combination of communism and democracy (which sound like the consensus politics of the 1970s) hint at a solution, but, as Gloop acknowledges, in a world of chaos and state violence, watching performance art is a poor resistance. The political humour is too easy, pandering to the existing bias of the audience, feeling like an attempt to win back attention when the existential narrative has wandered too far away from its focus.
There is an undeniable power in Gloop's presence, and the distorted trawl through Wikileaks, criminal acts of war, politicians' double-speak and the quest for wholeness, becomes a bewildering deconstruction of drag performance and the boundaries of personal integrity and social order, working towards a political engagement that questions without demanding an immediate answer.
Reviewed at the CCA, run ended. Touring across the UK.