BURNING HORIZON (People Show No. 97)
Riverside Studios, London W6
Opened 2 May, 1991

It wasn't applause of wild enthusiasm that sounded at the end of this... this thing, nor of strained politeness, but of sheer bewilderment "What the hell was that?" Well, it was wordless (apart from some Japanese chanting and a muted rendition of "Mona Lisa" by a cowled guitarist), 90 minutes long and visually gobsmacking from start to finish. It's probably "about" regeneration and cyclicality, but meaning is secondary to the spectacle.

In a limbo festooned with agricultural implements, bookcases and rotting vegetation, a Green Man (who, it transpires, carries a packet of Mates there's eco-consciousness for you) and a sort of Spirit of the Intellect play with the desires and fantasies of four arrivals. A missing limb is re-grafted, there's a kind of bread-slapping square dance and towards the close an orgy of destruction with hatchet and spark-showering circular saw. All this plus a driving live and taped soundtrack and beautiful sunset backdrops. I could have hoped for a shade more mad-bastard frenzy and a shade less ceremonial poise; either way up, though, it's safe to say you won't see anything quite like this elsewhere.

Written for City Limits magazine.

Copyright © Ian Shuttleworth; all rights reserved.

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