At the Sans Hotel

At the Sans Hotel
Assembly Hall

Nicola Gunn is clearly an incredibly talented performer, but the blurb for her show is misleading, and consequently the audience demographic resembled afternoon tea with Miss Marple, rather than a beginners guide to post-dramatic performance art, which is a more apt description than a ‘detective story’.

I expect the show will be accused of being pretentious and I will not pretend to ‘get it’ myself, however I can appreciate Gunn’s intuitive grasp of creating an experience for her spectators. Although she didn’t really do much in the first half; most notably when she paused for lengthy moments simply watching the audience,  in turn, she was incredibly watchable and challenged the conventions of theatre, and the conventional roles of actor and spectator. She acknowledged herself as a performer and the show as a performance, treating it a little like a conference during which she handed out invisible questionnaires, and discussed the process of making theatre on a chalkboard. The persona she initially adopted reminded me of a French primary school teacher, as she was nothing short of incredibly cute, charming and witty.

No sooner had she lulled me into wishing we were friends, this was shattered by a chilling Schizophrenic shift where I was genuinely moved by her extraordinary ability to turn on an emotional sixpence. She succeeded in taking the audience on a journey along the very performance arc that she described in this reflective piece, and producing thought provoking abstract theatre.