Robin Deacon / Marcia Farquhar / Gary Stevens / Ursula Martinez, The Performing Kitchen Home

Review in Issue 16-3/4 | Autumn 2004

The Performing Kitchen consists of four one-person pieces taking place in the domestic kitchen of arts organisation Home’s family house in Camberwell. The audience perch at the breakfast bar, lean on the walls or sit on the wood floor of the open-plan dining area while the performers inhabit the trendy and impossibly tidy kitchen. The setting is something like a cookery show – Jamie Oliver would not look out of place – but I’m hoping for something more Fluxus or Bobby Baker.

Marcia Farquhar gets her hands dirtiest as she tries to divine the future from broken eggs and makes biscuits that she uses to give audience members individual predictions. Ursula Martinez runs through ‘Some Short Stories involving Food’, engaging snippets of autobiography that evoke a South London childhood through memories of Stardust and cheddar cheese. But a short piece on alternative uses for a peeled cucumber puts a whole new perspective on the sliced salad Martinez offered when we first entered. Robin Deacon’s piece begins by asking what happens to extinct food items whose jingles live on, but grows into a cutting denunciation of processed food and culminates in a strawberry-jam-bloody experiment involving an electric knife.

It’s Gary Stevens’ funny but ultimately slightly disturbing opener that proved the most satisfying fare. Stevens tells an odd domestic story of two brothers, their mother and a stranger in their house through something like a comedy, quick-change hat routine in which a hat, a beard, is an indication of character; a kettle, a rubber duck, indicate settings; key gestures suggest action (a hand wave tells us a character has left). But once the family has gone we’re left with the alien entity of ‘not Tony’ who sits between identities but is most definitely there.

This article in the magazine

Issue 16-3/4
p. 28 - 29