27
Feb
13

Kitchen (You’ve Never Had It So Good)

When Audience Becomes Actor: White Rabbit Red Rabbit, Gob Squad’s Kitchen & The Last Supper

 

Part 2: Kitchen (You’ve Never Had It So Good)

 

Kitchen (You’ve Never Had It So Good)

Gob Squad, Germany/UK

World Theatre Festival

Wednesday 20th – Sunday 24th February 2013

 

Reviewed by Xanthe Coward

 

Johanna Freiburg, Sean Pattern, Sharon Smith, Berit Stumpf, Nina Tecklenburg, Sarah Thom, Laura Tonke, Bastian Trost, Simon Will

 

 

Andy Warhol’s Kitchen recreated live on stage, complete with bad coffee, nervous breakdowns and wild parties.

 

It’s 1965 and everything is just about to happen. The German/British collective Gob Squad invites you to take the hand of the King of Pop Art himself, Andy Warhol, and step back into the underground cinemas of New York City, where it all began.

 

Gob Squad’s Kitchen reconstructs Warhol’s films in the quest to illuminate the past for a new generation, reflecting on the nature of authenticity, the here and now, and the hidden depths beneath the shiny surfaces of modern life.

 

This was my favourite of the strange, original, intimate productions at WTF this year. Again, using audience members as actors, the cast gradually replaced themselves during the remake of Andy Warhol’s famous film Kitchen (1965). These guys have performed Kitchen (You’ve Never Had it So Good) for audiences around the globe, and their success includes an Off-Broadway run in 2012. An investigation into the nature of authenticity, and a parody of the films of one of our greatest pop art icons, Gob Squad’s Kitchen is witty, zany, and very, very funny.

 

Laura and Simon set the scene and explain what will happen. They are re-making Andy Warhol’s films to “modernise” them, bring them “up to date” so that we better understand our modern lives. As such, they replace the kitchen items with up-to-the-minute appliances and products, securing early laughs simply by introducing the table, the chair, the bread, the cereal and the instant coffee. We’ve already seen this set from the other side of the triptych of screens we see out front, upon entering the Powerhouse Theatre. We’ve seen the actors mic’d up and the television screens backstage that will help the cast create their own version of Warhol’s film as we watch from out front.

 

A tattooed girl named Kellie, a guy who I noticed the following night in the audience of Holding the Man, and (unbeknownst to them, surely), the new Arts Minister’s wife, Heather. They were fine, fitting in superbly, and at times going to great lengths to do so, with Kellie going so far as to re-enact the three-minute kiss with a cast member, as per Warhol’s short film Kiss (1963).

 

I think there’s a chance that some audience members may feel a little cheated when they’ve come to see a company perform and, one by one, the professional actors are replaced by randoms from the stalls. But it’s a different sort of theatre and it’s a style that I enjoyed, admittedly, because it wasn’t me up there on the big screen, but also because it’s cheeky, confident, fun theatre. Kitchen (You’ve Never Had it So Good) is a big, knowing wink at one of pop art’s most famous attempts to share “real life”, and it works superbly.

 

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1 Response to “Kitchen (You’ve Never Had It So Good)”



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