Review: ‘We are Ian’ – A riotous opening for the new Theatre Deli
So they’re off! Theatre Deli has relaunched in its new home at 202 Eyre Street, (the former Mothercare shop), and their opening performances of “We Are Ian” is a clear statement of intent for a new kind of theatre.
The space has come on a long way – now looking like a place where fun can happen. There is rusticity to the venue and you can still smell the fresh paint in the air. Though for all the work that’s gone into transforming the site into a theatre it still feels a little odd go to a retail park for a performance, especially one like We Are Ian.
Staged by theatrical company, In Bed With My Brother, the show is a combination of a rave, miming, a DJ set, a video installation, a comedy routine, a clown-act, a theatrical experience, a trip, and a quasi-religious happening.
If you’re thinking that’s quite a lot to squeeze into a one hour production, you’d be right. Though the wild mix makes for an enjoyable and thought-provoking romp, if it were much longer it would probably exhaust the actors as much as the audience.
The production involves the disembodied voice of ‘Ian’ booming out from the speakers, telling stories from the late 80s Madchester scene to the sound of house hits and a “Maggie Thatcher re-mix”.
As this develops, becoming more hypnotic and trancelike, Ian becomes a prophet in the “Church of House”. The three performers lip-sync, mime and gyrate about, conveying at turns rage, euphoria and terror at the wise words coming from the speakers.
If we’re given a divine being in the form of Ian, we are also given a whole host of demons in the form of a video montage of Thatcher, May, social unrest, demolitions and other unsubtle images which play with Orwell’s Two Minute Hate.
But Ian also comes across a flawed figure, a little Lear like, who has, to put it bluntly, done very little other than drop Es, get wasted and then wonder why and how he ended up living in a wasteland. But with his cheek and Mancunian wit, it’s hard to resist liking him.
“We Are Ian” is a raging display of colour and noise, a riot and a rave. It is hard to leave not having danced yourself silly and laughed yourself hoarse. There is plenty to enjoy and think on crammed into the wildest hour of theatre.