Words: John Brooks
Oozing Gloop has a lot of ideas. In their experimental new show, part of Marlborough Theatre’s New Queers on the Block tour, those ideas come thick and fast – perhaps a little too fast.
Gender politics and queer outrage compete with avant-garde silliness. Modern politics are deconstructed and a new utopian vision of a ‘Commucracy’ is proposed. A gammon joint collides with a snooker cue (no, really).
The show comes most alive when it drifts into avant-garde silliness, such as in a truly funny guided meditation parody that urges us all to “connect with our buttholes”. Our buttholes, we are told, are connected to our seats, and our seats are connected to the planet’s gravitational pull, meaning that everyone’s buttholes meet at the centre of the earth.
It’s also hard not to smile when, in the opening minutes, Gloop leaves the stage to hand out business cards. Each card contains a different description, each more outlandish than the last (‘Queer Alchemist!’, ‘Necro Nancy!’, ‘Gay Igor!’, ‘The Lacanian Real!’, ‘My Loneliness Is Killing Me!’). It may be pretentious, but it’s very funny.
Image: Kaleido Shoots
At other times, Gloop’s ferocious intellect leads the show into more abstract terrain. I found it hard to grasp the point of an extended section in which they hacked away at a gammon joint whilst reciting arithmetic relating to the number 130,000, a figure we were never told the significance of. I’m not entirely sure it justified the waste of so much cured pork.
The show climaxes with the introduction of Gloop’s splendid vision of ‘Commucracy’. This new form of society preserves the best bits of democracy and communism (the egalitarianism, the right to difference) and bins the bad bits (hate, intolerance, prejudice, unelected officials and rigged societal structures). The idea is a fine one and the manifesto I was given makes good sense whilst also being quite amusing.
However, even when at their most abstract or insistently political, Gloop is still a very likeable and watchable presence. And when flashes of mischief and humour shine through, it’s easy to see the potential here.
If they could find a way to make this show more accessible without compromising its intellectual integrity, Gloop could have something very special on their hands.
For two years, Brighton’s Marlborough Theatre has produced, commissioned and toured New Queers On The Block, a programme created to develop performances by exciting and innovative LGBTQ+ artists.
This year’s tour continues with weekend-long programmes in Bradford (13-16 February), Blackpool (27-28 February) and Hastings (6-7 March). For more information on listings, click here.
For great deals on tickets and shows click here.