The Kipper Club’s debut instantly scored points by betraying three fixtures of performance events: no hired venue, negation of rigid seating and free for all entry. Scratch night theatrics were held in a converted warehouse home in the Seven Sisters area. The end result was a community feeling of fluid performance and discussion. Tea and biscuits added a very literal sugar coating to proceedings. Organisers prompted performers and audience alike to inhabit the spacious lounge area placing comfort paramount. Shifting furniture to accommodate the varied performances successfully tested the energy and ebullient characteristic of the crowd.
Taking to the stage first was Michelle Roche’s I Grew Up In An Old People’s Home. Beginning as a benign process of recall, Roche and Mindi Button began to confuse each other, disrupting and correcting the corresponding supposed moments of nostalgia. An intermediary gameshow segment continued the feeling of frivolity before the piece reached a poignant climax. As Button became trapped behind a pane of glass, the grim message of dementia’s torturous grip became clear.
Following a costume change and prop adoption Roache and Button explored Button’s piece: Off Season. In a similar vein to the proceeding piece, hijinks of puerile play were intercepted as portent overtones consumed the performance. A holiday camp style foray descended into a sinister portrayal of water. The two performers fought over a vat of water with lustful greed, examining the substance capability of suffocation and distortion.
Alicia Radage continued with the hydro-horseplay in Something About Soaking (working title). Alicia adopted the imagery of a withering flower placed in a garden grown from polythene. Posing the question: “Why is Alicia dying” the audience offered options from ‘thirst’ to ‘boredom’. The piece deviated between extended metaphor and simple semantics as guests were invited to water the sponge-strapped performer.
Lizzie West and Phoebe Walsh’s smiliarly, yet not abashedly, underdeveloped creation demonstrated the true character of scratch performance. Three characters fought for attention of invisible parent figures. Gags worthy of a Christmas cracker were told, instrumental prowess (or lack thereof) was boasted in a slapstick and exhibitionist fashion.
Daniel Pitt’s Something To Do With Smelling cornered in on a lone man sighing and lamenting as he cooked a solitary meal. As Pitt began adding fabric softener and all manner of noxious, toxic chemicals to his concoction, humour once again morphed into morose. The finale infringed on a majority of the minor health and safety risks intertwining throughout the evening’s proceedings.
The question, answer and comment round completed the night. Ten-minute periods were assigned for each act in an open forum discussion. The exploration of the groups’ ideas and concepts through performance highlighted the variety and innovation of The Kipper Club contributors.
Future plans for The Kipper Club rely on participant interest; Pieces simple or complex, sprout or flowered, between 2-20 minutes in duration are welcome. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org with proposals.