Wild Bore is a smart smart smart new show from Zoë Coombs Marr, Adrienne Truscott and Ursula Martinez. It’s also a manifestation of this critic’s worst nightmare. The show not only uses real reviews of the performers as its starting text but actually reviews itself as it plays out. I’m a tiny bit anxious that something I write could end up in later drafts of the Wild Bore. I should be so lucky. The piece is theatrical magic intersecting with intellectualism.
The three appear arse-first on stage eliciting delighted giggles from the audience. The women rest their behinds on a tired looking trestle table and then proceed to talk out of their arses into fake microphones for almost the entirety of the first act. These talking arses are the omnipresent theatre critics dealing out reviews of the show as it plays out. It’s uber-meta and completely wonderful. Each arse-face critic is played with a virtuosic snarky wit. This ongoing scathing self-commentary gives palpable truth to the sentiment that there is no worse critic than ones-self. The Arse-Faces’s do not like, understand, appreciate, or even bother to rate Wild Bore.
We do also get to see the real faces of each performer who recount some actual reviews of their past work that is far from favourable. Switching between bums and faces, reality and the constructed, is a brilliant hook for this confronting work. The whole of Wilde Bore is fantastically contemporary in its use of images, text and design. What starts as a budget-friendly trestle table with just enough space for three bums to rest on is inverted in the second act to become a spectacular Dahli-esque table towering over the audience with three arses (now foam masks worn on the women’s head) perched atop and a secret curtained stage underneath. They spew (or shit) even more vitriol, eat corn, list puns (a critiques favourite way to deliver those scathing zingers) and shove food between their cheeks. I knew it was the second act because the Ares-faces told me it was.
I won’t describe the beautiful third act of the show or the surprise fourth act and performer but it got smarter, sillier and made me tear up a little too. I found myself often provoked into thought about conservatism as a worldview, about a feminine perspective in the theatre, about faith and trust, about engaging with ideas even when it’s dense and strange, about being comfortable with not knowing. I was also moved to tears by the end. It surprised me to have such an emotional reaction to a piece I assumed was only asking me to think. Wild Bore did to me what theatre has the power to do; challenge my perspective on the given truths while giving me moments of true delight, wonder and that strange Greek thing, catharsis.
The detail of the design work is impeccable. The Arse-face masks bear a striking resemblance to each performer’s actual arse with subtle shade and colour differences, and the theatre mechanics of subverting the trestle table to a multilevelled performance platform with curtains and its own lighting rig was absolutely delicious to watch. The whole work was rigorous in its construction and the smarts, smarts, smarts of the performers oozing out of every pore. The audience is in safe hands during Wild Bore, so if you get the chance to see the work do it.
Erica Brennan – Theatre Now & On The Town
Headline Photo: Tim Grey
First Photo in article: Maria Baranova. Other photos Tim Grey