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Motor Show, Black Rock, Brighton, May 12
Motor Show is one of several Festival pieces to have polarised audiences.
Much of the debate seemed to hinge on whether or not one understood it, whether or not one cared.
I’ll admit now I have no idea what it was about but I loved it. Set outdoors in the windy badlands of Black Rock (there were few concessions to comfort, which didn’t do much to appease the haters), this eerie and hallucinogenic show offered a memorable experience of the kind arts festivals are made for.
From the opening sequence, when a lone figure in PVC mac and feather headdress stalked on to the wasteland and crooned through our headphones, to the sight of faceless black figures tumbling like maggots from a caravan, its imagery burned itself on to my mind and lingered for days afterwards.
While the show hinted at themes – violence, desolation, love turned sour – searching for a narrative was as fruitless as trying to make sense of a dream. A set of twins (shorthand for freaky goings-on ever since The Shining) ran towards cars with arms held out beseechingly, but for what?
A man stood shaking with grief outside a caravan, forever trailing a schoolgirl he could never quite catch.
The use of headphones only added to the disorientation. At one point, it felt like a woman was whispering directly into your ear, the next, wailing was crashing around as if in a cave; the footsteps of the dancers on the gravelly stage were as crisp as if on marble; the intimate sound of a bottle being opened fiercely at odds with the blurry visual of faces in a steamed-up car.
It also lent a curious sense of isolation echoed by the snogging couples in the cars, together in the car park yet entirely contained in their own private dramas.
Whether one stepped into it fully or remained on the borders, it’s exciting to see theatre that creates its own world.