Everything Must Go or The Voluntary Attempt to Overcome Unnecessary Obstacles by Beady Eye sees Kristin Fredricksson exploring theatre through the means of portraying and recounting her father, Karl Fredicksson. Using her father as the main stimulus for what becomes Everything Must Go is a tricky business. The material is clearly close to Fredricksson’s heart, especially as her father passed away last year, leaving somewhat of a raw and exposed performance piece.
Fredicksson explores the varying personalities, and personas that her father seemed to adapt over the course of his life. With small object manipulation and puppetry to ease a sense of physical portrayal of her father, and those other family members in his life. There are cardboard cut-outs depicting her father in numerous poses and costumes, who appears to never miss the chance to dress up and to make people laugh. A series of films and photos break the performance piece into fragmented moments of time as we learn from birth to death of the quirky ways her father adopted.
What becomes clear is the performative nature of Karl Fredicksson, who seems to never miss a moment to entertain and perform, and it seems almost perfect to see him depicted as the main focus in Everything Must Go. Yet despite this, there is a sense throughout the whole performance that there is something missing from Fredicksson’s performance and delivery of her fathers life. Whilst it is a touching manner to celebrate her father, as a performance piece it lacks depth beyond the still cardboard cut outs and film footage.
Exploring your family in performance is ultimately a personal journey for the person researching and developing the piece. It is clear in Everything Must Go that Fredicksson has clearly relished at the chance to explore her fathers life, to celebrate it, and to proudly put me him under the limelight – but at what cost to the audience? Theatre of a personal nature to the director/performer has to always remember that whilst the history and personal connections are wonderful to explore, it has to translate into a performance for an audience. This is where I can’t help but to feel that somehow as an audience member we have been left behind a little.
Everything Must Go is a touching, moving and wondeful way in celebrating life. Fredricksson clearly has thought imaginatively in portraying characters, moments and connections with and about her father. Whilst I felt the lack of depth in Fredricksson as a performer, there is no denying that her father is quite possibly the true performer here, and justly so.
Everything Must Go by Beady Eye is performing at the Barbican Theatre until 26th June. Booking via the Barbican website. For more information on Kristin Fredricksson and her work, see her website here.