Mini-Festival ‘Currency 2014’: Bonkers & Crazy

“the most bonkers performance…pure craziness”

This month The Place is hosting Currency, a mini-festival that ‘brings the most bonkers performance from across Europe to the stage for a full-on four days that guarantee to entertain, provoke, and pleasure your senses’.

In the first of two performances of the evening Cridacompany presents a quirky mix of art forms with subtle humour and what can only be described as pure craziness – created and performed by a quartet of three men and one woman. Mañana es mañana, which translates from Spanish to, ‘tomorrow is tomorrow’, is unclassifiable in the constraints of a generic genre. One man juggles two balls popping from his mouth, whilst another balances in a headstand on plasticine.

Circus feats are layered upon careful contact work. Jur Domingo lies on top of the three men’s shoulders as they rotate underneath her in interesting and terrifying to watch patterns. She is also lobbed around and tipped upside down, worried for much of the piece that she is going to fall flat on her face.

The works sporadic changes of ideas made me question how I see performance art, forging a connection with real life. Things do not have to make sense, which was discussed when watching La Veronal’s Siena last week at the Southbank Centre. I am finding it more and more relevant that art need not make sense as this ultimately conveys reality because real life is nonsensical!

The only thing consistent in Mañana es Mañana, which is more than enough, is the way Cridacompany gel together with their free and bohemian approach to art. It can be argued that Cridacompany’s eccentricities are often lost in today’s art world, which is increasingly monopolised by having to fulfill certain criteria to receive funding and widespread acknowledgment. What has happened to raw, unorthodox and experimental work? I mean where else could you see a man, in what appears to be a mouse mask, have potatoes thrown at him after having an orgasm, aroused by his own provocative movement.

However, this kooky concoction and wacky approach to art can be pushed too far, which was quickly seen when Spitfire Company ambled onto the stage with Petre Boháč’s Antiwords. This display of drunk and disorderliness is ‘based on Václav Havel’s Audience and its celebrated film adaptation in which an actor drank nine pints of beer’. At first it is funny, I mean it is comedy watching two women pretending to be elderly gentleman, wearing two huge golden heads that give the blank expression of an aged man. Not to mention the fact that they are sat at a table, downing bottle after bottle of Pilsner beer, spraying foam everywhere. But, this did become monotonous with only random interruptions of projected text accompanied by a Czech voiceover to offer further engagement. It may have been more accessible if I was familiar with Havel’s Audience.

Photo: Michal Hancovsky

In conversation with a friend, apparently this work is all the rage in Europe, so where it may have not officially made it’s way across the English Channel before tonight, it certainly has now. Even if all it did was make me want to go to the pub and have a pint.

After seeing work from French/Spanish Cridacompany and Czech Spitfire Company I wonder what else Europe has to offer over the next two nights. Come along on 12 and 15 November for what is set to be more potty performances! Remember that along with the two main events in the theatre the building is a hub of activity with talks, a pop of café and a series of blind date performances.

More information about the festival and tonight’s work can be found here.

Reviewed at The Place, London on 10 November 2014

by Nick Kyprianou