As Jamie Wood wanders round in his huge loin cloth and then black dress, I can safely say that this is quite the strangest show I have ever seen. This hippy homage to Yoko Ono takes its form from Ono’s art instructions, but first Wood lays out some rules – no cheap laughs, no exploiting John’s death for comedy value. All of which he promptly goes on to break, incidentally.
Ono’s ‘instructions’ are prompts for little moments of expression or art or whatever you want to call it. Wood employs a few – the touch piece, the parent piece – all to very odd effect.
The strange and quite brilliant thing about this show is that in almost every way, it sounds like something I should hate; pretentious hippy-ness and pontificating about art, audience participation – all the big ‘O No’ signs. However I can’t help but be enchanted by Wood and his understated, gentle performance. He has a unique ability to draw the audience in and a knack for putting the audience at ease when getting us to participate, rather than creating the immediate, jarring discomfort which is usually the norm.
Jamie Wood’s whole show is bizarre and completely mad, but I have never been part of an audience that felt so collaborative, so positive and well-meaning. By the very nature of the thing, Jamie Wood – O No! could be so wrong, so easily, but instead is one of the most simply enjoyable shows I have seen at the Fringe.
Jamie Wood’s O No! is playing at Assembly from 19 -30 August as part of the Edinburgh Fringe. For more information, visit the festival website.