Daily Archives: April 13, 2009

Orgy Of Tolerance


JOYCE MCMILLAN on ORGY OF TOLERANCE (Jan Fabre at the Tramway, Glasgow) for The Scotsman 13.4.09

4 stars ****

AT THE CORE OF Jan Fabre’s latest piece of total theatre, there lies one single, obsessive image: the idea that the force which drives our consumer society is a horrible, lonely, narcissistic and abusive  perversion of sexual energy.  In Fabre’s nightmare vision of our society, no orifice remains unplumbed, no ridiculous perversion  of human creativity goes unmocked, as in seventeen or eighteen scenes – always scathing, sometimes horrific – his nine magnificent dancer/actors lead us through scenes that range from a horrible masturbation Olympics with stop-watches and bullying trainers, to a scene of torture, with images from Abu Ghraib, watched by a voyeuristic couple from their comfortable sofas at home; the big Chesterfield, the expensive sofa from which we watch and consume the world, is the show’s design leitmotif.

The structure of the show sometimes looks like a Sixties happening; but the mood – and the occasional ferocious song – has a neo-punk late-1970’s energy that’s all roaring metallic beats, raging disgust, and political minefields; there’s a dangerous sense, sometimes, that even honest racism is aesthetically preferable to oppressive cosumerist tolerance.  And at the end, there’s a dizzyingly brilliant five minutes of what looks like wild, free dance, in a grown-up style similar to the fabulous anarchy of that great teenage Belgian show Once And For All…, due at the Arches today.  This show is not a comfortable experience, or a nice one.  But in Orgy Of Tolerance, something happens; and our understanding of our own society moves on, albeit it into places that millions would rather ignore.