Rob Roth and Theo Kogan, Screen Test

Review in Issue 19-1 | Spring 2007

When a show is billed as a ‘SciFi Punk Rock Multimedia Epic’ and promises ‘Postmodern Butoh Choreography’ you might wonder quite where the joke begins and ends. Having experienced Screen Test, I am not at all sure that I am any the wiser. The show features Theo Kogan (ex-Lunachicks) and her young band The Skyscrapers, a couple of over-acting go-go dancers (the postmodern butoh exponents, presumably), some video projections by Rob Roth, and a frankly banal storyline that drags in a nuclear holocaust and Hollywood filmmaking.

The whole thing is an exuberant mess, and little more than an elaborately staged music gig. Ms Kogan is undoubtedly the show’s star. She occupies centre stage for most of the piece, has a hell of a voice and a lot of tattoos, can be made up to look like Debbie Harry in her pomp, and is really only defeated by an amplification that manages to make most of her lyrics incomprehensible.

Everything else in Screen Test is accompaniment, and at a couple of points the whole thing collapses into an unwitting parody of a fetish costume ball: stagehands tricked up in outfits that are equal parts Carry On Nurse and Swan Lake, wheelchairs and hospital gurneys being wheeled around the place in artsy slo-mo, and the butoh girls getting changed in full sight of the audience.

Still, I could not find it in myself to dislike Roth and Kogan’s efforts. Their show was technically polished and mercifully short. Perhaps next time around they should take themselves a little less seriously. And let the audience in on the joke.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Dec 2006

This article in the magazine

Issue 19-1
p. 29