As you enter the cavernous, tunnel-like venue, the scene is set with cool music playing, whilst the stage is strewn with various artistic accoutrements: an easel, paints, brushes and Warhol images. Bonchera enters dressed as the main protagonist, Muchachico, resplendent with a decorative beard, eye patch and Spanish accent.
Artcoholic provides a slice of wild escapism from the stresses of everyday life
Artcoholic may appeal to art history buffs, as the audience are taken on a whistle-stop tour of art history, with Bonachera playing the part of each artist, using simple symbolic props and costumes, to which the audience respond with appreciative laughter. Be prepared to meet Bonchera’s version of Michelangelo (with obligatory Ninja Turtle reference), Dali and Van Gogh; the Dali props are a spectacle to behold!
Bonchera’s stand-up experience (BBC New Comedian of the Year 2018 finalist) clearly shines through; she is definitely a proficient comedy writer. Well-crafted jokes, following the rule of three, land every time. Her original and off-the-wall style draws the listener in; Bonchera holds the audience with confidence, as they are navigated through the annals of art. The audience enjoy the comedically dodgy Italian accent of Michelangelo, who comments upon the homo-erotic subject matter of the majority of his work as ‘Grindr for the Renaissance’.
The show has been clearly researched, including detailed references to artists and their work. The quick-fire joke rate creates lots of audience laughter. An entertaining array of visual props make easy links between each section of the show; look out for the comedic use of large art prints which undergo quirky interpretation of ambiguous images. Clever use is made of puns; listen out to the references to ‘jail’ and ‘Baroque’. Entertaining and unexpected parallels are drawn between art and the Kardashians, Michelangelo and Cher, Italy and Newcastle as well as between Disneyland and Chernobyl.
The pace and focus of the show appeared to drag towards the middle, where contemporary references to modern culture didn’t seem to fit within the narrative of art history. Those expecting a gender-bending, drag king extravaganza may be disappointed by Artcoholic. The clearly talented performer, despite numerous character and costume changes, delivers a comedic representation of the drag experience, rather than a more authentic one. Yet this could also be said to add to the show’s charm and off-beat style.
Artcoholic provides a slice of wild escapism from the stresses of everyday life; join Bonchera on a whimsical journey thorough the arbitrary nature of the art industry. If you like character comedy, this is the show for you.