Blow Off

Blow Off is part concert, part theatre and deals with one woman’s journey to committing an act of terrorism. It’s certainly exciting, but Julia Taudevin’s story doesn’t delve deep enough into the psychology of extremism nor does it explore the circumstances that foster extremist views nearly enough, resulting in a show with plenty of anger but very little coherence.

Blow Off is certainly full of sound and fury, but most of it ends up signifying nothing.

Taudevin introduces us to the unnamed, unremarkable woman walking down an unnamed and unremarkable street that we’ve walked down a hundred times before. It’s an interesting idea that allows us to fill in the gaps, but doesn’t entirely work in the context of the whole show. What follows is a fragmented portrait of the woman’s life, going to work for a faceless corporation, trying to talk to the cleaner and being assaulted in the street by an unnamed and undescribed man.

All of this is performed with incredible energy from Taudevin. The band’s riotous music definitely adds to the sense of impending catastrophe, but the sound rendered parts of the script painfully screechy and other parts inaudible. Rather than contributing to the anarchic environment, it turned out to be more of a distraction and actually pulls you out of the action instead of immersing you in it.

Additionally Taudevin seems to have picked more targets than can be dealt with satisfactorily – reeling off all the evils and injustices of modern society, the audience is overwhelmed (presumably intentionally) meaning the show feels more like an angst-ridden teenage rant, rather than a legitimate portrait of the road to radicalisation.

It is definitely a brave piece of work with some fantastic technical aspects; the microphones allow Taudevin to emphasise her exhausted breaths as she whispers her thoughts for all to hear, and the striking lighting design adds to the livewire experience whilst also creating new locations with ease. However, none of these aspects make a satisfying substitute for the lack of characterisation and clarity in the plot. Blow Off is certainly full of sound and fury, but most of it ends up signifying nothing.

Reviews by Liam Rees

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The Blurb

'I’m not going to tell you her hair colour. Her skin colour. Whether she has an almond or a heart shaped face. All you need to know, right now, is that she is a person. Walking up a street. A street that you know.' Explosive new guerilla-gig-theatre from the co-creator of festival hits Beats and Chalk Farm, with live music by Kim Moore with Susan Bear and Julie Eisenstein from Glasgow's hottest indie-pop duo Tuff Love. This fierce and playful feminist work explores the psychology of extremism with haunting melodies and progressive punk riffs.