Threshold2015 Snapshots // Inca Collective presents - The Virgin and The Lamb by Idea Worth a Penny and Man With a Porpoise by Untitled Shakespeare



Inca Collective presents - The Virgin and The Lamb by Idea Worth a Penny and Man With a Porpoise by Untitled Shakespeare


I take a seat in the Lantern Theatre, catching the end of Ukulele Club Liverpool’s upbeat playing, lulled into a false sense of security as the lights go down and come back to reveal Jesus, slightly awkwardly draped over Mary’s lap; this was the arrival on stage of Idea Worth a Penny, with their performance of The Virgin and the Lamb. With suspense growing as the Virgin and her recently crucified son remain motionless and virtuous, I have just enough time to take account of the new environment I have been plunged into when both characters are no longer seated, Mary’s long purple veil parting to reveal a golden catsuit complete with bumbag, dancing to the Bee Gees.


The performance was as surreal as it gets as a part of the nativity was loosely narrated, only instead of travelling by donkey, Mary and Jesus were journeying with a low-cost airline. The religious icons had to cope with the torrent of problems that present themselves on these flights, such as Jesus painstakingly deliberating over what drink to order whilst the air-hostess, Mary, etches a customer-service-smile onto her face that both expresses patience and complete contempt of the passenger at the same time. Fed up with waiting, Mary gently suggests that she might order for Jesus and proceeds to produce tears of blood that roll down her cheeks and drip into a paper coffee cup which is then extended to the passenger. Both performers were effortlessly hilarious, with just a furtive glance from Jesus, the audience would erupt with laughter and in addition to her hilarity, Mary was haunting and angelic in equal measure. 

Upon their exit to resounding applause and not wanting to be lulled into a false sense of security for a second time, I steel myself for Untitled Shakespeare.

On slinks what is perhaps a rather flamboyantly dressed cowboy and, supported by a harmonica, a drawling soliloquy is performed. We learn that, through illness, this evening the audience will bear witness to a two-man trio. In no way is this concealed or are the gaps left by our absent performer tied up and I must admit that the thought definitely crossed my mind that the audience was being made so blatantly aware of the missing actor in an attempt to excuse the performance. Within seconds this thought was cast out of my mind, Man with Porpoise was bursting with frantic energy and absolutely engaging. 

We eagerly follow Untitled Shakespeare through various sketches interspersed with well known Shakespearean scenes. Two scientists recreate a ‘very tremendous’ Big Bang, which, much to the delight of the audience, turns out to be an awkwardly long Big Bang during which the two scientists seem unsure of what to do with themselves as they share worried, questioning glances with both each other and the audience. Shortly after, wandering onto the stage, mouth agape, is a man who seems to be in a constant state of meditation and who claims to have found himself during a recent stay in India. His hushed tones and staring eyes scream ‘inner peace’ and he very kindly invites us all to find ourselves through chanting. Very unfortunately however, he loses himself in the process and is reduced to screeches of pure terror. Through hysterical scenes from Romeo and Juliet and Macbeth we build to one of the more surreal scenes of the evening: A goodbye to a shoe. A slumped boot in the middle of the stage is presented with parting gifts, amongst which is a banana, as the shoe apparently liked them very much. In sorrow our performer bites about half of the un-peeled banana off, looking on with bated laughter, I don’t think the audience can quite believe the dedication to the performance. Looking quite horrified with the experience, ‘How can anyone eat a banana?’ is uttered, to which the audience, already in peals of laughter, roar louder. 

I sit, a million miles from the lolling comfort of Ukulele Club Liverpool, thoroughly impressed by Idea Worth a Penny and Untitled Shakespeare and it takes me a few moments to collect myself and leave the intimate theatre for some air. 

(Alexander Harrington)