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Made In China's 'Gym Party'
Made In China's 'Gym Party'

Gym Party review

Summerhall

By Daisy Bowie-Sell
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Blood streams from the nose of performer Brett Bailey, who is dressed in white gym shorts and a white vest. Smiling, he says, 'I want my name to stay in lights' and points to the word 'Chris', which has been written in electric bulbs above his head on the back wall of the theatre.

It's a strong, disconcerting image conjuring a sense of pain, desperation and futility, which comes at the beginning of this piece created by live-art theatre company Made in China which quickly became a group to watch after it formed in 2009.

This new, not completely thought-through piece is about competition and the entire audience are involved in what happens. The three performers each tell us they aim to emerge triumphant at the end of the night, which will happen if they successfully complete a series of ridiculous games and get the most votes from the audience.

Although there are interesting questions asked here, there are also too many distractions. The false success of celebrity is mentioned and then dropped. Stories are told about teenage failure but they aren't properly followed through and feel only vaguely linked to the rest of the ideas.

The intentions behind the piece aren't completely honed, but the show, performed by the three deadpan actors, is very funny, especially when it comes to the way they compete. There's a dizzy walking competition, a competition on who can catch the most skittles and a competition to see who can fit the most marshmallows in their mouth, which is both revolting and fascinating in equal measure, and prompts the question: how far would someone go to win?


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