If a cabaret act is consciously, deliberately devoid of talent, does that excuse it from criticism? It seems reductive to point out that the mono-browed, pink-wigged Figs in Wigs cannot dance, play music, tell jokes, make art or do the hula hoop – for that is exactly the point. Or at least, I hope so.
The Figs have centred their show around the fact that they are neither particularly funny nor talented
The show opens with a madcap dance, performed as each Fig gazes intently into the glowing screen of their iPhone. The theme, as one Fig helpfully details later on in the show, is ‘Social Media and Narcissism’. The art section of Show Off is focused on the selfie, or the ‘Facie’ as the Figs insist on calling it, apparently due to the word’s hilarious resemblance to ‘faeces’. “Everyone is doing Facies. Dogs are doing Facies, cows are doing Facies”. The audience is encouraged to take ‘Facies’ on our smartphones; possessing only a Nokia 3210 I cosy up to my neighbor for a photo. The Figs unveil the portraits they have drawn of one another (Fig.1, Fig.2… this actually caused me some mirth). While we are admiring the paintings, the Figs pass around refreshments (“Paint water - you are drinking the essence of our Art”) that luckily turn out to be iced coffee.
Following the art section is the amateur circus skills section. In the sequence called ‘The Most Nervous Woman In The World’ they juggle with scraps of coloured silk, talking about their neuroses: “I worry that people de-friend me on Facebook, I worry that I am not photogenic…” Then there is a hula-hoop marathon to the soundtrack of the Venga Boys ‘We Like To Party’. The stage isn’t quite big enough for five hula-ing Figs, so the hoops crash into one another and the Figs at the back get hopelessly tangled in the fringed stage curtain. I could continue to list bewildering things, from cow costumes, to a dissection of anatomy jokes, to more jokes about poo and willies.
The Figs have centred their show around the fact that they are neither particularly funny nor talented. They confess in a deadpan manner having hired someone to teach them how to tell jokes, but that this person was unsuccessful. At the end of the show I was in perfect agreement with this assessment, but that rather begs the question of why any of us bothered turning up. This may be self-aware clowning and astute silliness, but it also fails to amuse.