ASSUME THE POSITION THE BRITISH PHASE
ICA, London SW1
Opened 11 July, 1991

Two actresses sit on a swing suspended above the stage, talking shop and reciting their favourite speeches. Below, a Master of Ceremonies hosts what is nominally a discussion amongst four prominent performance artists, who proceed to peddle their wares (literally the programme includes a price list). By such immediate juxtaposition Nancy Reilly aims to foreground the collisions between theatre and performance art: she ends up with little more than a mess.

It's often diverting and on occasion visually ravishing. but the light self-parody of actresses and artists is irritatingly torpedoed by Wortham E. Tinsley III's grotesquely coarse caricature of an MC (presumably he's paid by the vocal octave leap). The sum total is an artistic Babel from which no intelligible comment emerges. Nietzsche said, "Out of chaos comes order," but he'd never seen this show.

Written for City Limits magazine.

Copyright Ian Shuttleworth; all rights reserved.

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