Leslie Hill / Helen Paris, Smoking Gun & Family Hold Back

Review in Issue 17-1 | Spring 2005

Leslie Hill, dressed as a member of the Ku Klux Klan, opens this double bill presented by Curious to mark the US/UK special relationship. The international relationship between the US and the UK is analysed and contextualised through Hill’s entertaining and memorable stand-up lecture. From her Perspex podium with a red, white and blue target behind her, Hill asks the question ‘Where have we come from?’ and ‘Where are we going?’ Global and philosophical, with great content, style and links, Hill surpasses herself when she enacts the turf wars. Lugging a large suitcase across the stage she unpacks a roll of new green turf and proceeds to cut it up, making her own patch of Town – the green grassland being a key feature of her view of the development of civilisation through the maternal line and the gross lands of the Savannah. Her visual and physical image of turf wars encapsulates the absurdity of the current political climate where territory and boundaries are the name of this deathly game. Of course Hill let rip about the outcome of the US elections, the double bill planned to be a before and after event, hoping for a Democratic victory. The audience shared her horror at the outcome as they Sipped Cuban rum and enjoyed the smoky aroma of Cuban cigars. After an interval, Helen Paris took over with her personal is political celebration of family and global repression using a dining table, one chair and a beautiful canteen full of bone handled cutlery. In Katherine Hepburn-mode, Paris, a gamine acrobat, folded and unfolded table napkins demonstrating the precision of domesticity in the English suburb of Maidstone. In her finale the dinner table transforms into a fine art spectacle, a tabletop holding water for Paris to do a back bend into and then crawl around in, as she recites the last supper menu choices eaten by men awaiting execution on death row in America in 2000. Reflections enhance the ominous cutlery canteen now under the table in a visual metaphor exposing levels, tiers, hierarchies and centres of control. In Paris’ world, under the table is the place where deals get done and power wielded, and rather than not be noticed when she returns to the top side of the table we believe that Paris is spot-on when she finishes by insisting: ‘Believe me you will hear me coming’, certainly not holding back as instructed by her mother. Double entendre intended, in a double bill that meshes power politics with personal politics and the joy of transgressing rather than rigidly holding onto boundaries.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Oct 2004

This article in the magazine

Issue 17-1
p. 28