This Is How We Die*** (Battersea Arts Centre)

Posted: November 1, 2014 in Theatre

THIS-IS-HOW-WE-DIEChristopher Brett Bailey, the American writer/performer, delvers a relentless assault on the ears, some of which penetrates through to the brain. Pale and gaunt with his hair standing erect, he sits at a desk behind a large microphone and reads from sheets of paper, beginning at a manic speed, barely pausing for breath and slowing up only slightly as the show progresses. The style of presentation has the effect of creating a barrier between Brett Bailey and his audience, thereby forcing concentration on the words being spoken; when occasionally, he pauses and makes eye contact with members of the audience, it is with an icy, threatening stare  – appropriate as a lot of his material is very cold indeed The script mixes neo-existantialist philosophy with stories that show influences as diverse as Jack Kerouac and the Addams Family. Brett Bailey’s writing is at its best when filled with very dark, surreal humour, such as in an account of a visit to his girlfriend’s parents, but at its worst when simply offering a quirky view of the meaning of existence. The evening is rounded off with a rock band making a cacophonous noise whilst four spotlights glare and dim on an otherwise dark and bare stage. In all, this is an unorthodox mixture of forms and ideas which, in a weird sort of way, works.

Performance date: 30 October 2014

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