I make no bones about the fact that my favourite art is dark, gritty, fresh af, feminist and all up in your face. In some kind of un-birthday celebration, I got all the things I like when I attended The Nest as part of Anywhere Theatre Festival. Sometimes you see a bit of art that is so stupidly fruity, you get a little giddy. From the wantonly creative women at Chance Collective comes a deliciously strange and unrepentantly weird wander into a surreal date night. Straight up, no apologies, this is my jam.
We’re attending a house party, and our somewhat inebriated hostess has lost her composure, along with one of her shoes. Shuffled into a tiny room where we sit in a rough circle around a mess of a stage, where upon a surreal landscape of bedazzled creatures and dull-eyed nightmares comes to life. Each scene is stupider than the next. The narrative, if such a thing exists, is buried deep. Follow along if you can.
It’s a clever show, that pulls together a whole lucky dip of creative disciplines. Strong elements of butoh complement scenes of surreal wonder. There is a shake of bouffon, and a tip of the hat to the caricature of suzuki. The costuming is that perfect mix of junk store treasures and charity-shop chic. The DIY / messy bedroom ethos is strong; honestly, so refreshing after a million slick stage productions. They have our attention thoroughly, completely; we are fascinated.
A favourite part was watching the faces of those across the way, who had never experienced truly weird art. My guest and I are enjoying ourselves enormously, giddy with the familiar taint of IDGAF feminista art; others are wide-eyed and open-mouthed; no one looks away from the action for even a second. I would have loved to be a fly on the wall for some of the post-show debriefings.
Clearly a lot of this show was conceived by a large dose of the kind of creativity that happens when a gang of creatives get silly and say ‘yes’ to every (foolish?) idea they come up with. When you back it up with such thoroughly committed performances, it’s joyful to watch. It’s a dark wander through the looking glass. I was 100% out of my head for an hour, and thoroughly in the present. No idea if you could tour this show. Don’t care. Don’t know if it will ever surface again. Was super happy to get to see it. What will they do next? Nobody knows! Better keep a close eye.
Nadia Jade saw The Nest as part of Anywhere Theatre Festival 2019.
Presented by Chance Collective
Hero image | Zoe Sheppard
Other images | Lily Doud