The Etcetera Theatre Company, Blue Jam

Review in Issue 14-4 | Winter 2002

This is comedy, comedy that turns conventional laughs on its head, cuts that head off, shoves it in a blender and then drinks it.

Based on original material from the master of dark pranks Chris Morris, the Etcetera Theatre Company perform sketches that have previously been heard on the radio and seen on TV. The essential premise of this material is that it takes the familiar and turns it into something uncanny. A woman pays a plumber thousands of pounds to bring her baby back to life by sorting out his pipes. A middle-aged man talks banally to his wife about murdering a colleague whilst she reads House and Garden magazine.

This show embraces multimedia tools to create a world filled with strange sounds and skewed images. A video projection of a sofa – simple iconography to represent a living room – the weird electronic soundscapes (of Aphex Twin, Boards of Canada and others) to heighten the surreality, and an off-hand, detached performance style all go into the mix to create an atmosphere that is edgy, keeping the audience on its toes, ready to surprise and shock you.

All that was missing was a greater awareness of the audience – the complicit awareness that this was live and not televised prevented the show from achieving its true potential; to satirise the expectations and the mores of a society cosseted by wealth and privilege. Despite this, fans of Chris Morris’ work will not be disappointed.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Oct 2002

This article in the magazine

Issue 14-4
p. 27