Zoe Coombs Marr, Ursula Martinez and Adrienne Truscott shoot down their critics in this punchy new show
Reviewing Zoe Coombs Marr, Ursula Martinez and Adrienne Truscott’s ‘Wild Bore’ is a bit like trying to clumsily pull the cheese out of a loaded mousetrap. An acerbic performance piece in which most of the text is stitched together from hostile theatre reviews, it sees critics coming a mile off and there is almost no analysis I can offer of it that it hasn’t already pre-empted with an ironic smirk.
That’s more my problem than yours, though, so best I just describe the thing.
In the first scene the trio are upside down at a table, their bare buttocks lined up at a series of microphones. It looks like a trio of bums giving a press conference – they are literally talking out of their arses, a deliberately and amusingly puerile swipe at the ladies and gentlemen of the press. (Presumably to stop them fainting they later switch to arse masks).
The text is, for the most part, one big sneering review of ‘Wild Bore’ (ie a review of itself), cobbled together with some virtuosity from a myriad other reviews of completely different plays (adding a further layer of metatheatrical weirdness, the trio have to be coy about the fact that it had excellent reviews upon its Australian premiere).
Every so often, they break the conceit to address us directly: a recurrant theme is their exasperation at critics who declare work has no meaning, with Martinez repeatedly returning to a particularly galling Whatsonstage review that appears to still infuriate her years later. Is she really that annoyed? Yes and no, I’d guess – I get the impression the show is also very much also a playful riff on the idea of the over-entitled artist responding diva-ishly to their press. That's something that’s certainly born out by a major twist at the end, wherein the trio find their privilege spectacularly checked.
About two thirds of the way through the three start suggesting possible meanings and messages to the show, which is somewhat distracting when you basically agree with most of them – to a certain extent any conclusion on the show’s message I might come to would be an act of plagiarism. Is it all a bit cliquey and closed? I mean, maybe, but I think everyone is familiar with the trope figure of the poison pen-wielding critic, and the gleefully OTT way in which the trio attack the subject lends it a payful bounce that saves ‘Wild Bore’ from its own cleverness.