Having thoroughly enjoyed 2 Edinburgh Fringe preview shows in Cardiff I decided to try a preview for a show at the Edinburgh International Festival. So far I have laughed at “Service” and confronted my anxieties past and present in “F.E.A.R” and today I was intrigued by the concept of Martin Creed’s “ Talk and Songs”.
Artist and musician Martin Creed won the Turner prize in 2001 with his controversial work (is there
any other kind of Modern Art) Number 227: The Lights Going On & Off. After a little delay he
wandered onto the Chapter stage littered with a variety of microphones, guitar cases and modern
communication devices while a projection flickered behind him showing the words YES and NO.
With no introduction he launches into a discussion with himself about his love for wet wipes and
how can he interpret feelings through words and music, before ultimately, deciding that he can’t.
This seems to be his default setting, whatever he would like to do, he can’t.
It was at this point that I wondered if I was watching an elaborate joke. Whilst the technology
collapsed I couldn’t decide if this was a shambolic mess or was every computer glinch, mis-tuned
guitar and sentence full of errs/ums, pauses and contradiction was an intricately staged routine to
make a point about making order from chaos.
This show settled down when he concentrated on singing and proved what a good singer/ guitarist and wordsmith he is. However, after admitting he didn’t have an ending he just ambled off stage and we returned to the normal world.
With my positive reviewer’s hat on I will say Martin is an extremely likeable eccentric, like a mad uncle of John Hegley and John Otway who wins you over with his bumbling charm.
With my negative reviewer’s hat on I will say this was an overlong rambling mess of a self-indulgent artist who quickly needs to turn ninety minutes of incoherent ideas into a professional show at the Edinburgh International Festival which opens Friday week.
As ever I encourage people to go and make up your own mind and feel free to let me know your thoughts.
MARTIN CREED'S WORDS AND MUSIC is playing at Studio, Potterow
as part of the Edinburgh International Festival throughout August at 22.30 (check listings for exact dates)