Jamie Wood – O No!

This is one of the strangest hours I have ever passed. However, it is also one of the funniest and most heart-wrenching. Jamie Wood - O No! is partly an homage to Yoko Ono (though you don’t need to be a fan to understand) and partly an exploration of relationships and what it means to fall in love. Jamie Wood primarily explores this through the use of Yoko Ono’s artist’s book, Grapefruit. This book contains many scenarios, or ‘pieces’, that may or may not be acted out by the reader, and a few are exploited to their fullest over the course of Wood’s show, which is truly bizarre, constantly surprising, and hilarious.

The end result, while doubtless different each day, is often poignant and at times wonderful

This is most definitely conceptual art, but it is never taken too seriously. Art is allowed to be funny here, rendering it all the more enjoyable. Ridiculous things are allowed to be taken as such, and there is clearly no expectation for us to attempt to seriously analyse what we are seeing. Wood uses different means and media to explore his topic, with surreal and humorous touches throughout. He particularly uses the small details of his set-up to great effect, demonstrating the amount of care within this seemingly random performance.

The audience is necessarily a part of this show - something Wood achieves with ease. He is so likeable throughout that he has little trouble enlisting audience members to assist in his unorthodox exploration. The end result, while doubtless different each day, is often poignant and at times wonderful. A particularly memorable discussion between Wood and one audience member regarding how he fell in love will stay with this reviewer for a long time. This, and the majority of the show, is achieved by following the instructions laid down by Ono, making it a true homage whilst having very little discussion of the woman herself. Note, however, that this is an acquired taste - if you’re not willing to check your cynicism at the door, it will be difficult to fully appreciate the method behind Wood’s madness.

Overall, the combination of Wood’s skills as a physical and verbal performer, along with the quality of the devised piece itself, make Jamie Wood - O No! a funny, intimate, and utterly mad space. 

Reviews by Laurie Kilmurry

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The Blurb

Following the success of Beating McEnroe, Jamie Wood returns to the Fringe with a new show, employing his signature blend of anarchic comedy, fandom and emotional terrorism. A psychedelic ride, and wonky homage to the woman damned for destroying The Beatles, O No! borrows Yoko Ono's art instructions to ask whether falling in love is always catastrophic. This is a show about reckless optimism, avant-garde art and what we might learn from the hippies. 'As funny as the best comedy, super-theatrical and entirely unlike anything else’ (Brian Logan). 'Touchingly hilarious and startlingly bonkers’ (TheEdinburghReporter.co.uk).

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