Take Me Somewhere

Ivo Dimchev: P Project /V/DA: Sonic Séance

Tramway, Glasgow

Mary Brennan

three stars

Sitting on-stage at a keyboard, Ivo Dimchev is a decidedly genial host: his voice has a drawling languor, he’s prone to droll asides - like his quirky costume mix of cycling shorts, high heels, make-up and mustache, P Project seems designed to entertain. Does this hold true when Dimchov introduces a cash-box and an element of audience participation on-stage? At first it’s volunteers writing poems that Dimchev improvises into tunefully trilling songs - this earns them £20. Tap-dancing, hip-hop - no professionals allowed - nets the punter £40. Two girls, tops off, non-stop kissing for five minutes, merits £60 each. So, what is worth £250 apiece? Well two guys step up, strip off and simulate prolonged sex on a mattress - the audience shouts them on, hooting and guffawing while Dimchov dictates/directs their performance inbetween songs. The cheers and raucous laughter feel oddly gladiatorial. However these dudes volunteered, remember? And they’re getting paid. And this is where Dimchov emerges, not as a Jeremy Kyle ringmaster but as a serious provocateur, raising issues about the arts and money, artistic freedoms and audience responses when some-one risks humiliation by going on-stage for... is it just the money? There’s more than meets the eye here - cunningly suggested by unexpectedly revealing sides to some other audience members.

Sonic Seance is an intense, impassioned assault on the received perceptions that have - under the influencing governance of white colonialism - defined women of colour. Conjuring up the voices of the ancestors, enacting the chants and moves of rituals and mixing them into modern equivalents builds into a fierce rejection of subservient silence - the four women on-stage simply radiate empowerment. Performers/creators Patricia Panther, Ashanti Harris, Letitia Pleiades and Mele Broomes - with BSL performer Bea Webster an integral part of their action - unleash tremendous energies from head, heart and soul.