Sunday, 25 November 2012

Penny Arcade comes to the Albany

Performance art, despite being a handy tag to include everything that happens in real time and space, isn't that old as a genre. Even ignoring the various controversies around its definition - when does something become Live Art or theatre? what section of The Skinny is this supposed to be in? - performance art tends to stir up the shit: it is frequently the artistic vehicle of choice for creatives who want to examine ideas that don't fit with the mainstream. 

Penny Arcade was right in at the start of it - and her work from the 1960s until today has been challenging, original and determinedly personal. In recent years, she has become a mentor to emerging artists - the wonderful LaJohnJoseph acknowledges her role in her practice - while still touring pieces that refuse classification. She is arriving at The Albany in December to reprise Bitch! Dyke! Faghag! Whore!

There's more confrontation in the title than in most venue's entire season: the event is part night club, part series of monologues and features male and female exotic dancers. Originally designed as a reaction to attempts by the American right to limit funding to controversial works, Arcade did describe the show as a "fuck you" to censorship.

Featuring roles from a receptionist in a brothel to meditations on the rise of the New York gay scene, BDFHW! is less interested in mainstreaming queer culture than representing it. Connecting to Arcade's presence within the Gay Shame movement - an attempt to disavow the rush to mainstream acceptance by a counterculture, BDFHW! is an extended provocation.

Bitch! Dyke! Faghag! Whore! Is coming to the Albany from December 15-23 for a final London run coinciding with the Albany's 30th anniversary.

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