Review: An Electric New Show from Made in China at Soho Theatre

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Tonight I’m Gonna Be the New Me is a fascinating and risky voyeuristic look into a real-life couple. Jess and Tim, who make up the production team, Made in China. It offers up glimpses into their relationship with this teasing part truth, part fiction piece.

What takes this 60 minute production out from the ordinary though is its dynamic, electric presentation that sees the piece presented as a monologue from Jess, incorporating physical movement and scripted interaction with the audience.

When the lights go up, Jess is standing alone in front of a whirring fan. Slowly Jess starts to move. The speed of her twitching increases and soon her body is convulsing in a frenetic blend of contemporary dance, club moves and sexual suggestion. It’s a little funny, it’s a little uncomfortable. And it perfectly sets the tone for what’s to come.

When Jess’ wild dance comes to an end, she cools down and introduces herself and her partner Tim (who’s doing the lights) to the audience. But it’s all about Jess. She’s charismatic, funny and loves being on stage as much as Tim loves huddling quietly in the corner.

Made in China 2 (1280x853)

Jess’ monologue begins to take shape. She and Tim have been together for a while and the impact of that becomes obvious. She tells us about his good qualities, flirts a little with him in the corner – only to deliberately start a row. They know each other well but the affectionate moments give way quickly to stored resentment and regrets of ‘missing out’. Their needling is all too familiar.

Impressively, for well-trodden subject matter, this piece holds your attention. Jess’ monologue has structure – there is a story she’s telling. She provokes members of the audience and she’s well adept at handling what comes back at her. You feel in safe hands but I love how this piece just keeps you on the edge of your comfort zone. It’s all warm and funny, then you suddenly uncomfortable with the friction and sharpness.

This piece will bewilder some. Its purpose is unclear but I like that. How much of a relationship is truly revealed in this constructed monologue? How much can Jess and Tim hide of their real-life relationship as they perform? I don’t know and it’s an intriguing premise – what can we hide and what always gives us away.

Soho Theatre, London to September 26, 2015

Image Credits:

  1. Jess Latowicki, courtesy David Monteith-Hodge
  2. Jess Latowicki, courtesy David Monteith-Hodge.jpg 3

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