Grace Savage, the UK’s official female champion beatboxer, suits her oxymoronic name to a tee. She’s an unexpectedly soft spoken young woman with the sweetest of smiles, who insists upon a profound inclination for the underdog. She’s just like us, we naively assume. She grew up on
Relax and have faith – Blind can be dark, but it’s ultimately eye-opening and you will be safe in Savage’s hands.
In this coming-of-age tale, an impressionable girl becomes an adult through imitating what’s around her – in Savage’s case, through repeating sounds. She learns to choose what to imitate and what to rightly discard, when to accept something wholeheartedly and when to buck the system. This last dilemma runs through the show. Savage’s journey is embodied by the figure of her mother, who dishes out sometimes worthy but often reprehensible advice. Initially, Savage’s mother is depicted by Savage herself, who dons a wig and smokes a cig from behind a curtain, giggling and ordering her daughter never to marry anyone poor (amongst other things). Then, Savage stops playing her mother, and instead challenges and interrogates a recording of her real mother’s voice.
The themes discussed are subtle but potent; the show poses intriguing questions on the responsibility of art to its consumers, the treatment of women in society and their representation in the media. A particularly fine example of such discussion: Savages beams at the audience in her typically sweet manner, claiming chirpily that it is easy being a female beatboxer and that everyone is really very nice to her. She then expertly beatboxes chart hits as clips pop up showing comments that her internet admirers have left under her Youtube videos. They begin innocently enough: ‘You’re a babe’, one says. ‘Marry me’, says another. At first we laugh, we admire her talent. But soon the comments turn ugly. The lyrics to the hits Savage remixes become more obviously misogynistic as the comments become more crude. The admirers in the clips become trolls comparing Savage’s oracular skills to her potential at fellatio. The mood darkens, but Savage’s performance becomes richer, more expressive, more deeply rebelliou, and quite remarkable.
If you are already interested in beatboxing, it would be a sin to miss this show. If you merely pretend to beatbox, probably badly and whilst drunk, it’d still be a sin. If you are an OAP who has never heard of beatboxing, you will still very much enjoy this show. We’re treated to a brief history of beatboxing, as well as a charming brief history of Savage’s life with a brief lesson in some of its basic sounds. This collision between her life and music will make you leave the show awash with love and respect for this underdog who is overwhelmingly impressive at what she does. Relax and have faith – Blind can be dark, but it’s ultimately eye-opening and you will be safe in Savage’s hands.