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Review: Theatre

Unmastered, Remastered

Unmastered, Remastered

CCA, Glasgow

Neil Cooper

A multi-dimensional playground of television monitors, projector screens and laptops is the back-drop for this dramatic rendering of Katherine Angel's remarkable book, Unmastered.

Published in 2012, her first-person narrative is part love story, part confessional, part feminist-theory-made-flesh and part getting of wisdom that takes in sex, desire, pornography, loss, grief and the life-giving thrills of all in a series of poetic fragments.

In Nick Blackburn's wildly impressionistic work-in-progress staging for his Wooster Group-inspired Blackburn Company, which features Angel performing the entire book, Unmastered also makes for a beguiling dramatic monologue.

A stiletto-heeled Blackburn is one of two men on stage who make up the troupe of six that accompanies Angel, who sits to one side of the playing area, speaking her own words heard through headphones on her mobile phone. While films flicker on the TV monitors, the four women dance or draw, on their bodies or on paper projected by a live camera feed. The men drink Carling Black Label and scribble macho moustaches and chest hair onto themselves. All try out a variety of wigs, shoes and hats, playing with a different sex over the next two hours.

While it's unsurprising to find Virginia Woolf and Susan Sontag's names cropping up, bursts of Madonna, Beyonce and other machine music icons punctuate each section.

But it is the stillness of Angel's darkest outpourings that are most effective. As a one-night stand to accompany art magazine MAP's feminist reading group project, Sick, Sick, Sick: The Books Of Ornery Women, here is a talking book that requires a much bigger life.

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