Christopher Green: ‘No Show’ review

Theatre, Experimental
3 out of 5 stars
Christopher Green, No Show, Yard 2020
Photograph: Maurizio Martorana

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

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Christopher Green doesn’t want to perform – you’re going to have to make him

Christopher Green is sitting coyly in the audience, his strawberry blonde curls hanging over his face, thin shoulders hunched in a pink hoodie. He doesn’t want to perform. He doesn’t feel like it. Over the appealingly weird 90 minutes of ‘No Show’, it’s the audience’s job to coax, tease and drag some kind of performance out of him.

There’s a loose kind of structure to the ensuing mayhem, set up in a webpage we all read at the beginning; it’s part video game, part traditional three-act play. Armed with hastily doled-out titles like ‘sidekick’ or ‘wise advisor’, it’s impressive how quickly ‘normal’ people can become a bit monstrous when they’re given a say; on the night I went, Green was hustled on stage and seemingly trapped there for a tortuous group karaoke session to Robbie Williams’s ‘Angels’.

I’m not going to go into any more specifics, because this feels like a performance that finds its joy in spontaneity and surprise. It plays games with you; it’s highly contrived, full of obviously pre-planned spots and tricks, but Green also has fun with the pretence that the whole night is just one long unknowable voyage of discovery. He engineers head-spinningly ridiculous scenarios and makes room for interludes of communal magic.

Still, although this show centres on the contradiction between spontaneity and artifice, there are still moments where the balance feels off. Green’s parody of solo performance tropes inches towards the curmudgeonly. And a section that nods to recent demands for white theatremakers to share space feels mishandled – too blunt and brief to really make an impact, and ultimately only there to engineer a ‘climax’ in the show’s laboriously imposed structure.

‘No Show’ is styled as an audience-led emotional journey – from stage-shy disillusionment to limelight-hogging faith in the power of performance. For me, what was missing was the emotion. I didn’t believe. Maybe that’s because Green’s arch performance persona didn’t offer much warmth, or maybe that’s because I really hate Robbie Williams. Dunno. But I have a sense this show’s ingredients could blend very differently on another night; it’s an exciting room to be a part of, full of unsettling surprises and completely alive. 

By: Alice Saville

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