REGARDED as Britain’s first experimental theatre company, People Show’s debut performance was in 1966 during the Vietnam War, and echoes of the 20th century’s fear of global warfare and the spectre of nuclear annihilation envelop Fallout, the company’s 124th piece.
People Show 124: Fallout - CCA, Glasgow
A collaboration with visual artist Rob Kennedy, the audience are invited to remove their shoes before entering a room of stark whiteness, chairs grouped together in the centre, all facing different directions. A quartet of Gareth Brierley, Fiona Creese, George Khan and Jessica Worrall relay urgent speeches of paranoia, chillingly focused political dogma and cold-eyed threat, with the disquiet heightened by occasional, intense musical accompaniment, a scream and rush of jackboots, or the incongruous interweaving of famous football declarations from the likes of Eric Cantona, Delia Smith and Kevin Keegan.
The babble is discombobulating and the performers vainly seek rest against pillows mounted on the walls, onto which Kennedy’s film of a still Nevada landscape is projected ghostly site of the first nuclear bomb tests. J Robert Oppenheimer, director of the Manhattan Project, was infamously put in mind of the Bhagavad Vita by the testing, and Worrall repeatedly mutters his quotation in a state of disordered dread: “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.”
The sum effect is unquestionably disorientating and captivating but feels too much like an intellectual exercise, the reverberations of genuine terror and suffering too distant and removed.
Seen on 17.06.14
• Run ends today