Political chaos we find ourselves in is Out of Order as this stage show comically proves
- Forced Entertainment's cryptic vision of the state of the nation
- A metaphor for our broken political times?
Six clowns appear on stage, faces grimaced in make-up, suits awry, and proceed to sit sullenly round a table.
Music alerts them to action and one suddenly makes an angry lunge for another, chasing them madly round the table to catch and – perhaps – dispose of them.
The others variously hold the pursuer back, block their path, shield the pursued, and occasionally throw obstacles such as chairs in their way to halt the pursuit.
Repeat several times in different concatenations and you have some idea of the latest offering from Sheffield-based Forced Entertainment, called Out of Order and being staged at Home until tomorrow (15 November).
Director Tim Etchells says the show is part comment on the state of the nation, and in its false starts, seemingly endless loops of random behaviour, and faux anger you can certainly read into it a metaphor of the paralysis that Brexit has left the country in.
The clowns – exiles from a circus? – torment and comfort each other in equal turns much in the way our politicians do, but here using balloons and klaxons to get a reaction rather than catcalls in the House of Commons.
They are set in motion by music and much like a game of nightmarish musical chairs struggle to recompose themselves when the melody ends. They upend the furniture, move it around to no obvious purpose, and then just as quickly decide to abandon all movement and lie down, each clown in their own prone position.
The fight, bicker, console, and rewind their lunatic movements until every possibility is played out before us.
Maybe enough has been said about Brexit and the state of the country that words are no longer a useful ally to express how we feel about the current impasse. Or maybe, just maybe, the rest of the world thinks we’re a bunch of clowns.
Forced Entertainment are, but at least they’re funny with it, unlike our politicians.