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Muddy reviews: Wild Life, Norwich Playhouse

2016-05-19 19.38.06

For me, performance art can go either way: brilliant and moving or bonkers and a bit, well, meh, which is why I tend to rely on music or singing to put the performance firmly in the ‘brilliant’ category.

But what if there was a hybrid between music and performance art? Now that would be interesting…

Meet Wild Life, a part-performance-part-singing collaboration between Pol Heyvaert of Belgian Arts Centre CAMPO and Kim Noble, featuring 10 singer-songwriters aged between 15 and 22 all hailing from Norfolk. Running for 10 days as part of this year’s Norfolk & Norwich Festival, Muddy was invited to go along and see what it was all about.

Take 10 singer-songwriters...

Take 10 singer-songwriters…

Designed to explore – and challenge – the lives of young people in today’s modern society, the fragmented performance incorporates regular pockets of self-reflection, with performers taking it in turns to ask questions into a microphone: “Should I go to University?” “Will my 80-year-old self have any regrets?” And “If my dad doesn’t know who Jay-Z is, why doesn’t he just ask me?”

image 2

It’s brave, funny, satirical and honest, with the audience laughing out loud at moments, while others are so silent you could hear a pin drop. Each performer gets a chance to sing a song they have written themselves, while their name and the name of the song appears on the rustic brick wall behind them.

There’s a little bit of dancing (my favourite part), a guy playing a harp, a couple of girls playing guitar and some really beautiful songs and voices that make you realise just how talented this bunch are.

A bit of a dance

A bit of a dance

While one person is having their turn on the mic, the rest aren’t sitting idly either – they create a collage on the wall or make band t-shirts and bags to sell at the end of the show. It’s all very studious (and actually pretty clever).

Making a wall collage

Making a wall collage


T-shirt production

T-shirt production

Some parts are touching; others downright surreal but, as always for me, it’s the singing that gets my vote.

Voice of an angel? Playing dress up - one of the more surreal moments of the show

Voice of an angel? Playing dress up – one of the more surreal moments of the show

So, the Muddy verdict? Would I go and see it again? Probably not (sorry). Would I buy the album of the songs (which is for sale alongside t-shirts and bags)? Definitely.

Wild Life’s singer-songwriters are:
Megan Blair, Anna Carter, Lucy Grubb, Noah Horne-Morris, Kate Maguire Buck, Sophie Mahon, Aphra McSherry-Birley, Elliouse Marie Moss, Poppy Rae Read and Hannah Websdale


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