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This is Not Culturally Significant - The Bunker Theatre

Photo credit: Besell McNamee

Better late than never, and mostly because no producer wants press in to review their show on a public holiday (though I did review a show on Good Friday this year), I decided to stop reading up about the General Election and get out of the house on a typically rainy Bank Holiday and head up to the Bunker Theatre for a performance of This Is Not Culturally Significant. This is a show that is, for those who haven’t read the infamous press release, performed entirely by one man, Adam Scott-Rowley, and in the nude. Scott-Rowley has also written and directed his own show. As Barry Humphries once pointed out, if you do your own show, and win an award for it, “there is nobody else to thank”.

Is it necessary for the show to be performed entirely naked? No. The effect would have been the same if he’d worn a nice shirt and a pair of trousers.

The no-holds-barred in more ways than one approach does, however, allow for lightning-paced scene changes, and the only things on-stage are a chair and a lamp light that hangs from the ceiling almost to the floor. It isn’t the nudity that bothers me. It’s the sheer repetitiveness of it. A scene involving a man, Dennis, indulging in a combination of misogyny and cybersex, took far too long, and to be honest, it became boring. I am pleased to report that at least the wife gets her own back, even if the punishment rather outweighs the crime. Or does it?

There’s a gay guy, there’s an academic giving a lecture apparently on spiritualism, and there’s a woman in sing-song mourning for her same-sex partner. The performances of these various characters (and more besides) are hammed up as much as is humanly possible, presumably for dramatic effect. But there’s drama, and then there’s melodrama, and then there’s this, not just an overcooked meal but a thoroughly incinerated one.

But, let’s be fair to Scott-Rowley. The audience at the performance I attended lapped it up, or at least most of it, even laughing not just at the first ‘fart’ but at the twenty-first one too. Here’s a man, in the buff, on stage, blowing raspberries, and people loved it. Call it the deterioration of cultural standards if you must. I will only reiterate what so many have said before: each to their own. Scott-Rowley is, by any stretch of the imagination, a highly competent actor who also sings very well, but I couldn’t help feeling the show could have been even shorter than its 55 minutes.

At least the show lives up to its title. There’s nothing that really moved me, it was mildly amusing in places, and it was indeed not culturally significant.

Three stars

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