Theatre Modo, Ubu

Review in Issue 17-4 | Winter 2005

The deep recesses of the Baby Belly Caves are a more than fitting location for Ubu. Revelling in darkness, the performance brings a grotesquely painted white face and a sardonic smile to all that is morally prescribed and politically correct. Excess is the new Ecstasy. We too, get a taste of the pill.

Plotting treacherous deeds against the King, Pa Ubu, Ma Ubu and Fuquhar hand out tomatoes to be hurled at the Royal couple; at Pa Ubu's coronation Ubu sets up a race for the 'gold' – a tenner, with some beer for the losers – that is to be given to the peasants – us. As the volunteer competitors from the audience line up, their eyes sparkle. ‘If this isn't a Kodak moment, what is?’ Ubu comments. Greed is no illusion

Swelled full of sex and sauciness, Ubu sticks its large and phallic oar – a bicycle pump with a big black erection on the end – into the heart of, well, anything worth sticking it into. Both Pa Ubu (Robert Jach) and Ma Ubu (Louise Allan) deliver robust and charged performances, exulting in their underdog status prior to their monarchical overturn and – following it – flinging their power around with as much loose abandon as they do their genitals.

Theatre Modo succeeds in building a modern farce that stems not from hoodies or Atkins diets, rather from drawing upon shared associations; sometimes contemporary, sometimes not. In Moulin-Rouge type montage, Macbeth remains the ultimate timeless tyrant, gorging on McDonald's he conjures up a zeitgeist of gluttonous instant gratification. Theatre Modo intelligently balances facets of timelessness with contemporary cultural icons to generate relevance and wit.

Stylistically sleek, sumptuously sexual, voluptuously vulgar and as it says on the flyers, ****ing funny, Ubu – in all it's putrid glory – is a breath of fresh air that makes you gag.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Festival
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Aug 2005

This article in the magazine

Issue 17-4
p. 26