Performed as a part of Take Me Somewhere Festival, 100% Pop is somewhere in between a homage and a sequel to Grace Jone’s One Man Show. This immersive party of a performance deals with pop sound and imagery within a culture of global capitalism, questioning the validity of our obsession with aesthetics through movement and music.
100% Pop is more of a gig than a piece of theatre. Performed in Tramway’s second space with the seats stowed away, audience members stand as Nora Chipaumire and her fellow performer explore the space without boundaries. The setup of the space is incredible, small details ensuring that the entire thing feels like an acid trip from the eighties. It is a fresh new take on immersive performance that shatters the division between artist and audience, celebrity and consumer. The form itself is engrained with social commentary.
However, once I allow myself to succumb to the party, as Chipaumire imitates my static stance with an accusatory gaze, I begin to lose track of what is being said. I’m all for performance that forces the audience out of their comfort zone, but this seems redundant when doing so causes us to forget why we are there all together. I go to a gig to have a dance, I go to the theatre to be told something new. This doesn’t detract from my enjoyment at all, although I do feel many audience members feel incredibly awkward. Sadly the effectiveness of the performance is reduced by the intensity of its form.
Nonetheless, 100% Pop makes an important point about consumer culture, and the repetition of ‘revolution is not on Netflix’ hammers home the need for a return to a simpler time. Chipaumire is a clearly talented deviser of performance, I only wonder if her style is better suited to a different form.
Review written by Rachel Baker.
100% Pop was shown on Sunday 26th May 2019 at the Tramway Theatre. To find out more about the production, visit here…