Akhe, Plug’n’Play

Review in Issue 21-2 | Summer 2009

It’s not often that you leave a performance with lumps of banana on your jacket, hands smelling of garlic, and clutching a piece of A4 white paper that you bought for £16. In Plug’n’Play you do just that. Things you may never have dreamt about doing as a naughty child are compellingly performed by Russia’s Akhe, who for this show are in the personae of a DJ mixing banging electro-pop with jazz and two lunatic artists who paint a large mural on the back wall throughout the performance.

Perfectly situated in the scruffy vaults of Shunt, we are witness to three men creating anarchy before our eyes, and allowing this energy to propel itself into the audience. Within five minutes, the tightly packed crowd were cheering and jeering, as apparently live light bulbs are plunged into glasses of red wine, and a brick swings across the stage smashing glass and threatening to drop at any second. Pieces of fruit are attached to electronic devices and exploded, sending remnants into the audience. At one point I threw a satsuma at a small, naked bald man banging the drums…

Whilst it’s difficult to pinpoint an actual reason for all of this madness, it doesn’t particularly matter. The performance is like a panto for creatures from a Tim Burton story, revelling in the opportunity to chop things up, attach Actimel bottles to their nipples and sip on a cocktail made with ice smashed in a man’s pocket. Akhe have created a high-octane, cringe-inducing experience which never ceases to be both hilarious and terrifying at the same time.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Jan 2009

This article in the magazine

Issue 21-2
p. 28