Buzzcut 2017

Pearce Institute, Govan

Mary Brennan

four stars

BUZZCUT'S sixth consecutive festival of live art and experimental theatre ended on Sunday. Some fifty, highly diverse, and often idiosyncratic, performances were staged across five days, mostly in Govan’s Pearce Institute (PI), but other neighbouring locations took the work out into the community. We filed into Govan Old Parish Church to find Anthony Huseyin Pharoah (from Turkey) already laid out as if awaiting burial. Playing Possum – My Brothers Might Kill Me was his survival response (like possums who play dead) to an honour killing/anti-gay threat. Perfumed oils, a winding sheet, chants and prayers: these Islamic funeral rituals, performed under the roof of a Christian church, solemnly evoked timelessly relevant thoughts of persecution across cultures and faiths where the only sanctuary appears to be in death.

Violence roared into action at PI with Stuntman, performed to the hilt by David Banks and Peter Lannon who co-devised the piece with Ellie Dubois. Cartoon biff! bang! wallop! comedy weaved through serious exchanges, albeit with punches swapped as well as words. From the splatter-fest scenes in macho action movies, to the shocking reality of an unprovoked, vicious attack outside the school gates, Stuntman deftly questioned physical aggression as a source of entertainment, or as proof of male potency. This is a piece that deserves to be seen beyond Buzzcut.

Facts about gender, from the primordial soup to our own everyday bodies, were the basis of Mamoru Iriguchi’s solo, The Journey from Man to Woman. Here, Iriguchi’s sophisticated flair for animation, coupled with his affable style of chatty presentation, made sex education for young adults into a wise, occasionally mischievous, quest for understanding the duality in all of us.

On the last day, inside the chill, dank reaches of an abandoned industrial shed, FK Alexander, her dark suit a badge of the “boss classes”, strode through the space (to a rising cacophony of mechanical sounds), stoked an angry flame with handfuls of sugar before splintering a block of ice with the pick-axe in her hand. Special Ammunition Element Rotation had a dark, poetic savagery that demanded recognition of what had been destroyed and lost in Govan. The disused Graving Docks were just a stone’s throw away.