Everything Must Go (or the voluntary attempt to overcome unnecessary obstacles) (4 stars)

This article is from 2009

Everything Must Go (or the voluntary attempt to overcome unnecessary obstacles)

Dad, in drag, in memoriam

It says on the programme notes that this show is a labour of love, and it is. Kristin Fredricksson’s father Karl was a hurdler, a ballet dancer, a drag enthusiast, a comic, a creator of characters, and a hoarder. He died of cancer in June this year; and rather than go into mourning, Fredricksson has distilled his spirit into this utterly remarkable piece of performance.

By the end of an hour, the audience feels that they know Karl intimately. Using his notebooks, junk recovered from around his house, a series of home movies and some gigantic cardboard cutouts blown up from old photographs, she creates a ramshackle, carnivalesque and heartbreaking tribute to her father.

As he was not a conventional man, Fredricksson does not attempt to tell his story in any conventional way. She jumps hurdles, bounces on a trampoline, and dresses up in drag to create comic characters, just like her father did. She works a small puppet tenderly to reproduce the infirmaties of his old age, creates movement pieces out of songs and gestures she associates with him, and somehow, out of this utterly shambolic patchwork, something raw, touching and almost painfully intimate emerges. The whole audience, and this reviewer, were weeping by the end.

To be clear: this is more live art than dance or even physical theatre. There will be people who find its strangenesses difficult. But, knowing Karl as we feel we do by the end, it’s difficult to see how a more conventional tribute could have summed him up.

Augustine’s, 510 0022, until 31 Aug, 5.45pm, £8–£9 (£6–£7).

Everything Must Go (Or the Voluntary Attempt to Overcome Unnecessary Obstacles)

  • 4 stars

An athletic-puppetic duet with my dad in drag (aged 78). Cinefilm, clown, puppetry and hurdling from dosshouseand music hall to dancing on graves. Inventive, fresh, brave. www.beadyeyetheatre.blogspot.com

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