Abigail Bryant reviews This Is Not Culturally Significant at The Bunker
The enormous challenge of verbally explaining This Is Not Culturally Significant is verification of its distinctive brilliance. After being awarded ‘Show of the Week’ at VAULT Festival, Out of Spite Theatre’s production now transfers to The Bunker, an intimate yet capacious venue that feels tailor-made for Adam Scott-Rowley’s one-man spectacle of a performance. Dark, captivating and authentic, This Is Not Culturally Significant is a challenging and at times uncomfortable encounter, but a bold and original take on contemporary society that deserves paying attention to.
Yes, this piece of theatre is performed entirely nude, but no, this is by no means its unique selling point or main frame of reference. The astounding extent of Scott-Rowley’s physical embodiment of ten different characters throughout the hour long performance fully justifies the concept of no clothing, and it is impossible to imagine the show performed to its full strength without this raw and almost vulnerable quality. With nothing more than a stage, stool, spotlight and his own body, Scott-Rowley presents a diverse set of characters and storylines, each with a unique context and setting that his performance alone makes evocative and instantly imaginable. Although ranging from the shocking to the hilarious to the absurd, all characters and stories possess a weight of truth and sombreness, and unashamedly shine a light on the concealed aspects of contemporary society that may usually be neglected in theatre. Whilst Scott-Rowley’s physicality and remarkable acting dominate our attention, the collaborative efforts of lighting and sound really make the show what it is, with synchronisation between all elements of the fast-moving and varied production notably immaculate.
This Is Not Culturally Significant, as well as being wildly entertaining, is also ‘meta’ in that it raises questions about theatre as an art form, and turns the spotlight to the audience so that you get the sense that each performance will be completely unique depending on reaction and interaction. Despite a lack of material stimulus, Adam has the room in the palm of his hand, and the entirety of the show is compelling, engaging and provocative. He manifests the characteristics of vastly different personalities with effortless transition and unbelievable contortion, using his body to channel not just different people but different environments, backstories and situations. Although it’s difficult to explain what it’s actually about, it doesn’t matter, because Out of Spite Theatre delivers a play that incites unadulterated emotion, entertainment and astonishment like no other. It’s because of its unique and distinct attributes that you really have to experience it first-hand for yourself.
This Is Not Culturally Significant runs at The Bunker until the 3rd June.