It’s not all about the winning, it’s the taking part that counts…or is it? We’re all taught to be gracious in defeat, to maintain a level of poise and save face, however can we truly go against our innate determination to win?
Created by Made In China Theatre Company, this vivacious satirical piece humorously examines the pedestal on which the notion of winning has been placed, and the audacious lengths to which people will go to win. Clementine Keith Roche‘s quiz show-esque set design comically sets the tone for the piece, as all three of the cast members names adorn the wall upstage in bright neon lights. Dressed in gym class inspired attire, the cast, comprising of Jess Latowicki, Christopher Brett Bailey and Ira Bond prepare for battle with outrageous dance moves, each showcasing their victory songs in the process (Kanye West‘s I’m a god, Azaelia Banks‘ 212 and MIA‘s Paper Planes). From performing the Macarena whilst balancing a book on their heads the longest, to spitting skittles the furthest, from asking the audience a series of questions about the contestants, to getting the audience to dance with the cast members, Gym Party is a fun and novel take on the competitive society in which we live.
The integration of audience participation throughout the piece was entertaining, and a brilliant showcase of the cast’s improvisational skills as they each competed to showcase their knowledge on a range of subjects from political leaders to Academy Award winning films. Away from the vibrant games of the various rounds were engaging monologues delivered by the cast looking back at their former selves in high school. Universal themes of aspirations, social hierarchy, love and friendship rang true, highlighting how school life is centred around the premise of ‘winning’, whether it be being at the top of your class at a certain subject, or being the popular pupil at school. Gym Party is a humorously ruthless look at the concept of competition set in a world of bright lights, outrageous soundtracks and colourful wigs. 4/5.
Gym Party is currently showing at the Battersea Arts Centre until 2nd November. For more information on the show, click here…