In The Interest of Health And Safety Can Patrons Kindly Supervise Their Children At All Times
- Lorna Irvine
- 31 May 2019
Misfiring show puts overprotective parents and their offspring front and centre
21 Common's show starts off all guns blazing, pitting feral youth against Peter Pan adults (Gary Gardiner, Craig McCorquodale and Joel McDiarmid) with choreographed, mimed routines to pop and, wonderfully, the ritual hanging of a giant teddy bear.
It's a sensory overload, loud and episodic to emulate the short attention spans of spoilt children. Yet in spite of some acerbic poetry, and smart allusions to pop culture, like the kids emulating Serge Gainsbourg with sherbet dips instead of cigarettes and plastic beakers full of juice in place of wine glasses, it crash lands endlessly on the side of obvious. And one scene with a little girl gyrating in a bra and lipstick is just far too uncomfortable, even if it is worn over sportswear.
There is a disconnect too between allowing kids a voice and the only direct address to the audience coming from McDiarmid, a Kurt Cobain lookalike who vocalises and swings like the perpetual teenager from the side of the stage. This is perhaps intentional, yet it is never made clear.
The constant lip syncing grates after a while, in spite of some funny faux-histrionics to power ballads. Nicki Minaj could be used as a wry comment of raunch culture and capitalism being instilled into kids early, but it's hard to say without a coherent narrative.
Pester power, adult control, burgeoning sexuality and youthful innocence has been dealt with in a more sophisticated, nuanced way recently through artists like Bryony Kimmings. This, in spite of its good intentions, is like an extended binge on too much sugar.
Reviewed at Take Me Somewhere, Tramway, Glasgow.