Dot Howard’s entrance doesn’t come until right at the end of the show, which is exactly what you’d expect to happen in a show entitled How to Avoid Making an Entrance of Yourself. Purportedly addressing self-doubt and the anxiety of live performance, we’re made to sit through nearly an hour of the duo zipping themselves into bags and squirming about on stage, paintbrushes being chucked at us and a vague monologue on love.
Dot remains off stage for the majority of the piece, her disembodied voice accompanied by Signalong, a kind of sign language interpretation which is a manifestation of Howard’s fear of revealing herself. When she does appear on stage she ties her hair in front of her face or wears a paper bag over her head. The point is obvious and over-laboured; it takes real courage to put yourself out there on the stage as a performer but this idea alone is not enough to sustain a show of this length.
Beyond this comment on performer anxieties there’s no narrative, no structure and little to hold your interest as the minutes slowly drag by. Howard could well be a talented performer but there’s simply no way to tell from this performance: she never gives herself the opportunity to demonstrate her acting skills, spending most of her time in that bag or secluded off stage.
Towards the end of the show Howard decides to break things up with a drawing session. Howard sprawls across a Pilates ball in a skin-tight red jumpsuit and we’re handed charcoal and paper. It actually comes as quite a relief to have a little break from the performance, although it does feel like this was a convenient way to fill up time. In fact, the whole show could be described as filler; Howard’s show fails to impress on content and entertainment value and, to be honest, I can’t think of any reason why you’d want to go and see it.