Ken Campbell, Hypenator

Review in Issue 19-2 | Summer 2007

Devised theatre? Standup? Standup-sit-down-standup? Exhibition of abstract art? Juice bar? Improv? It’s the usual Ken Campbell. His mania for connections has not diminished (the programme notes give a definition of the word ‘Apophenia’, which is ‘the experience of seeing patterns or connections in random or meaningless data’), and there is the accustomed mix of exaggeration, autobiography, esoteric knowledge, different books, bizarre props, and good humour. What distinguishes Hyphenator is that it is a domestic show – from the set (more or less a study), to the content (e.g. the lives and deaths of generations of family pets as mini dynastic drama), to the easy audience/performer relation. It was good, but not as good as it could have been. I missed the trick Ken Campbell has of building a circuit that somehow reaches outside of itself for its power – I wanted him to say serious things through whimsy. I’ve heard him do it before. I shall never forget a piece heard years ago on the radio where Ken introduced Jackie Chan to Anne of Green Gables, imagining a new super-series Chan of Green Gables – and then, without any apparent effort of transition, began to talk very movingly about the (then recent) attack on the World Trade Center. Perhaps in Hyphenator the lines of deranged enquiry didn’t have enough crossing points, but they were always curious and always funny, and it was a nonstop ride. ‘A full stop is a lie, or a hyphen coming straight at you.’

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Dec 2006

This article in the magazine

Issue 19-2
p. 31