Fevered Sleep, Carpel and Stamen / Fantasy

Review in Issue 11-3 | Autumn 1999

The neat gardens and faux Tudor semis of Palmers Green provide a fitting backdrop for this double bill of ‘at home’ performances by Fevered Sleep. For the first showing, Carpel and Stamen, the audience sit on a manicured lawn before a washing line which acts as a curtain. A prim lady in a cloche hat sits on a deckchair listening to the clipped strains of a presenter on a BBC gardening programme. In the vegetable patch, a gardener – stripped to the waist – tills the soil.

This brief performance installation is a beautiful portrait of middle-class repression circa 1920. Aroused by all the plant talk on the wireless, and by the burgeoning nature that surrounds her, the lady of the house conjures a man from out of the flower bed. He emerges naked from the soil – the fruit of the earth to make passionate love to her. The smooth suburban calm is momentarily rocked.

For the second showing the audience are ushered into the living room where they spy, through the French windows, a party going on in the conservatory beyond. We’ve progressed to the 1990s and a group of friends have met to get drunk and play the ‘Fantasy Game’. The audience have already been asked to scribble their darkest fantasies onto scraps of paper which are now pulled from a hat and acted out by the players at the party.

The concept is beguiling. The windows which separate the audience from the players block out all sound. The party starts quite naturalistically. Because of the authenticity of the domestic setting, the effect on the audience is to feel like invisible guests at a party to which they haven’t been invited. Gradually things grow more surreal as the players start to act out some of their favourite fantasies to often hilarious results.

Presenting Artists
Site

34 St George’s Road, Palmers Green

Date Seen
  1. Jun 1999

This article in the magazine

Issue 11-3
p. 20