Towards the end of Made In China’s Super Duper Close Up, solo-performer Jess Latowicki tells the audience, “I always thought my story would be one with backing dancers.” There is a certain sadness to this sentence. But this intense monologue, which throws in expressive dancing, video work, and a very absurd piece of audience participation, isn’t without its own flashes of glitz.
A modern tragi-comedy with just a touch of Beckett – speed talking, and images focusing on the mouth recall Not I – Made In China’s Super Duper Close Up on paper sounds a little drab. Latowicki talks us through a recent failed work meeting, as well as information about her friends’ Kate and Victor’s Shen-do (the couple’s shindig-cum-hen do) at a Karaoke bar – incidentally Latowicki’s worst fear – and wedding speeches.
But it is how Latowicki presents this information, through her unfiltered stream of anxious consciousness that adds the twinkle, and the metaphorical backing dancing to this piece. In fact, Latowicki proves that she doesn’t need backing, because the strength of this piece is her, and her personality.
Littered with her hypochondriac Google search history and her idiosyncratic approach to life, this is an honest, open-book approach to theatre that has the audience spluttering with laughter, and swiftly overwhelmed with empathy the next.
She takes the mundane and magnifies it, revealing her anxious nature in the process. However, this often veers towards a quasi-cathartic experience, which is embodied by the moments such as when Latowicki stops talking and dances, freely and alone.
What is more the use of the screen and camera adds another dimension to this piece, ensuring that this one-person show doesn’t risk becoming flat. In fact, it grants Latowicki the opportunity to play more with the space and the form: theatre becomes strange music video in one mesmeric interlude.
Made In China’s Super Duper Close Up reveals the absurd dream that is reality, connecting the strange dots of life, subtly and not so subtly, in a very engaging piece. At one point, Latowicki admits that she has Googled six more successful artists than her “with the phrase bad reviews”. Well, here’s one of her own that says that she’s good, if not extraordinary.
Made In China’s Super Duper Close Up is playing The Yard until 24 November. For more information and tickets, click here.