Muddy reviews: Wild Life, Norwich Playhouse
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.
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?”
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.
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).
Some parts are touching; others downright surreal but, as always for me, it’s the singing that gets my vote.
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