Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard, Performer. Audience. Fuck Off. (2012)

Jane Pollard and Iain Forsyth at a post show talk at Lighthouse

Is Brighton too cosy for a performance piece with the f-word in the title. Certainly by the end of Jo Neary’s performance on Saturday 12th it appeared that way.

Most of the audience may have relieved that this local comedienne chose to say, mainly, nice things about us as she adlibbed her way through a 20 minute set.

But nevertheless things were tense, as if the four letter word hung in the basement air. Looking past Neary, we could see ourselves in a wall length mirror. It didn’t help.

Performer. Audience.  Fuck Off. is split into five minute segments in which a stand up comic talks first about physical sensations and second about the audience.

She then turns her back on us to address the same two concerns while facing the mirror. This allowed her to be slightly less polite about herself and us.

Forsyth and Pollard’s work is a playful spin on a performance-for-video by American artist Dan Graham. But Graham appears to have been a less threatening presence.

Here the artists appear to suggest that Graham’s performance needs updating. Perhaps it really does need snarking up for contemporary tastes.

Putting a comedian on the stage alerts us to the fact we may become targets of jokes. Neary‘s gentle jibes are only a taste of what might happen when this show tours.

Name stand-ups draw audiences unprepared for the conceptual structure of the show, the lack of script, the absence of gags. Don’t like it? You know what you can do.

More from these artists can be seen in the current show Audience/Performer at Lighthouse Brighton. See gallery website for details.

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