On entering the Centrespace Gallery, you are ushered into a small and intimate tent with what feels like old friends for an evening of reminiscence and tales. This clever use of space makes you feel completely relaxed and comfortable as the girls welcome you in with their friendly smiles and greetings. This closed space allows Ella and Nicki to really connect with their audience as they make you to feel as though they are speaking directly to you, by making eye contact with everyone in the audience at some point. The girls cleverly included the audience by passing around photos and cutting a peanut butter-flavoured ‘Hiker’s bar’ for us all to taste, making everyone feel connected and completely intrigued.
They cleverly used everyday items as props, such as a large map of the parts of America they visited, string, desk lamps and many more household items which all fit perfectly into the space and the theme of the show. Their videos and phone recordings helped you to understand their experience and make you feel as if, in a way, you were experiencing their trip with them. The personal videos and photos also helped to make the show feel very intimate as it was clear that the girls were sharing their very special time with the audience. The use of miniature, hand-made props to set scenes, such as paper houses, trucks and gas stations, helped to fully build an image in the audiences’ minds of rural America, again helping us to feel as if we were experiencing it with them. All of the props can be seen as basic, but they were completely effective in making the show so successful and understandable, as they encouraged the audience to visualise what they were describing for us in a much broader scale.
The use of gentle comedy, such as replicating the American presenter Bobo’s accent, helped to keep the show quite light-hearted in the dark environment, and helped to keep you engaged and focused throughout the evening.
By ending the show with time for the audience to ask questions about their time hunting for Big Foot, the girls brought the show to a peaceful and perfect end as they cleared up any overhanging enigmas and resolved any confusion or misunderstanding. The questions also reminded you that this was a true life experience, all the stories and videos were real, which helped to make the show feel more exciting and powerful.
This show could be seen as really basic, but it was most definitely an effective and successful piece of art.
Wild Thing I Love You is playing at the Centrespace Gallery until 23 May as part of Mayfest in Bristol. For more information and tickets visit the Mayfest website.