After the lysergic spectacle of 1991's Burning Horizon (No. 97), The People Show cut right back with 90 minutes of Mark Long's outer-limits carnival barker's patter on time, space and relativity. He swears it's true that (as the opening line claims) "when I was five years old I sat on Albert Einstein's knee," but Long's take on Albert's theory is a bit idiosyncratic – demonstrating faster-than-light travel by sinking a glass of Guinness and hurling it at the back wall (has Rutger Hauer picked up on this yet?), and interlacing his cosmological ramblings with the tale of diamond-smuggler-turned-boxer Mr Patel.
On this guided tour through the four dimensions, one by one, the passage through each is marked by Long doing one of his turns (the joke's crap, Mark). The climax – the revelation of the fourth dimension, as constructed in an eye-boggling, rotating module that fills the stage – declines into self-deprecating bathos as the show fails to end. It's not unlike the recent solo work of Ken Campbell, but like Campbell, Long can captivate and inform, bewilder and delight at once. Well worth a trip to SW10 for a squint through the prism.
Written for City Limits magazine.
Copyright © Ian Shuttleworth; all rights reserved.
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