Shifty Commuters, Bus Stop / A Cuppa Tea

Review in Issue 12-2 | Summer 2000

This double-bill is performed by a duo with a collective performance background that includes text, movement, clown, performance art, video and sculpture. Shifty Commuters draw on all available resources to bring us these pieces of multi-media performance. Is it theatre? Performance art? Video installation? Who knows. However, what is clear is that Tom Beauchamp and Bia Oliviera give us two very different, funny, engaging and fascinating pieces.

The first piece, Bus Stop, concentrates on exactly that – a bus stop. Two clowns are waiting for the number 38 bus. The frustration sets in, revealing the differences between the two – one is uptight, the other totally flaky. Finally they journey into another dimension. All this is interspersed with an attention-grabbing sound and video collage ably supplied by Paul Vinell and the company.

The second of the two pieces focuses on that great British tradition – the cuppa. With neither of the performers coming from Blighty – but from New Zealand and Brazil respectively – this is some risk. However, what we get is a fascinating insight into a peculiarly British ritual, the vicar’s tea party. An RP voice-over provides advice on the making of tea, Joe Public gives his opinion, and a scientist tinkers with taste in the background, as a clown deals with the mundane world of crockery in front.

There is something very comforting about this piece, as it takes us on a nostalgic trip to the heart of the aromatic infusion. We recognise the familiar in a new way, and feel warm and cosy as the tea party commences once more. It is often said that audiences vote with their feet, here it seemed that they didn’t want to leave at all.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Festival
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Mar 2000

This article in the magazine

Issue 12-2
p. 25