(insert slogan here)
- Eddie Harrison
- 10 August 2018
A personal love-letter to Volvo and their advertising style
It's a very rare show that encourages a reviewer to dust off a one-star review; even a naked man telling jokes with a chicken under one arm merits a second star by dint of commitment. So what has (insert slogan here) from the YESYESNONO theatre company done to deserve such ignominy? Billed as a 'fevered excavation of adverts, objects and longings', it offers only pretentious notions and woeful execution.
Creator and performer Sam Ward loves Volvo adverts, and wrote a letter to express his gratitude to the Swedish car-makers when he was eight years old. Although the company never responded, Ward has now created a Fringe show in which he and random members of the audience recreate a classic Volvo advert.
Ward isn't able to show us many of the adverts, and can only describe them in words: the first irritation. Secondly, he's made his own adverts, seemingly from found footage, iPhone ads and Daffy Duck cartoons, which are not great to say the least. Thirdly, his adverts are projected onto a crumpled bed-sheet where they look as weird and corrupted as anything from Andy Warhol's Factory nightclub. And fourthly, Ward's spoken-commentary, which often uses Volvo ad-copy as an outro, is delivered in a too-close-to-the-mic fashion that's often impossible to understand.
But it was the audience participation sections that left attendees with their heads in their hands. After offering them busy-work like arranging tea-lights or drawing sandcastles, Ward approaches his guests with an unintentionally comic line of questioning 'I've got a question for you; what is it like to be cool?' or 'Have you ever been in love? And can you remember who it was you were in love with?' Swallowing an ad-company's slickness without a second of question or insight, (insert slogan here) is a show of breathtaking inanity, an empty shell where entertainment might have been.
ZOO Charteris, until 19 Aug, 6.10pm, £12–£14 (£10–£12).