Gus Watcham hurries onto the stage as Kathy, looking frazzled, determined and slightly deranged. It takes a while for the words to start flowing but when they do, we find out Kathy has a lot to say, and it’s all directed at her art tutor, who she has an enormous crush on. Mixing spoken word, art, performance, text and a dictaphone, Gus takes Kathy down a minutely documented, self-destructive path as her unrequited obsession causes her world to come crashing down around her.
a disturbing exploration into the frailty of the human mind and all its imperfections
Kathy’s worryingly manic demeanour makes it difficult for the audience to relax and enjoy the humour in the poetry, but that is probably what the artist intends. The dishevelled wig reflects the character’s disturbed state of mind, although the constant pulling and adjusting of it is a little distracting and doesn’t help with suspension of disbelief. Gus exudes femininity in the second half of the performance, without the use of this shaggy, unnecessary prop. Kathy’s words flow in poems entitled Snake, Carpet and Magazine and the use of the dictaphone is a nifty little tool as the occasional playbacks put us in the place of the poor tutor, forcing us to imagine his reaction to what is about to arrive in the post.
In the second portion of the performance, the stage is stripped and we meet Sarah, sitting behind a screen and starkly lit in profile. Her everyday existence as the mother of a distant teenage boy is plummeted into pandemonium by his suicide attempt. The writer/performer gives a candid account of Sarah’s sometimes inappropriate reactions, thoughts and deeds on hearing this tragic news, plunging the audience into the depths of this mother’s mind, leaving us feeling like uncomfortable voyeurs. Sarah is not averse to her own uncomfortable voyeurism as she stumbles across an image of a suicide bomber on the internet. Like picking a scab that you really should leave alone, her mind returns again and again to the image and the graphic description of what happens to someone who deliberately blows themselves up. Abigail Norris’s grainy, rain-splattered film snippets are indeed haunting, but seem to have been added due to the artist’s refusal to be restricted to just one or two uses of media. If in doubt, throw everything at it and Gus has certainly thrown everything at this production.
Directed by Mark C Hewitt, This Is Always the Result is a disturbing exploration into the frailty of the human mind and all its imperfections. If you ever feel like your world is falling down around you, then at least meeting Kathy and Sarah might make you feel better about yourself.