Edinburgh Festival Fringe theatre review: Jamie Wood – O No!, reviewed by The Scotsman’s Sally Stott.
Jamie Wood is inside a bag with a member of the audience and they’re both about to take off all their clothes. “The sun” – an orange yoga ball – has been rolling around the audience; “sheep” made of fluff have turned into clouds and flown away; and we’ve all been touching one another up in the dark. Inspired by Yoko Ono and her art, Wood, who dresses as a cross between his idol and John Lennon, wants us to perform a series of actions described in Ono’s 1964 book Grapefruit. And that’s what we’ve been doing.
It starts off conventionally enough: Wood greets us with some wind chimes, puts on a giant nappy, stares into our eyes and describes our souls. “You are so strong,” he says to me, which of course is true – you have to be for this kind of show. Its manifesto is to “challenge the boundaries between life and art, politics and nudity.”
The strange thing is that the more hilariously farcical it gets, the more we’re able to directly experience Ono’s art and its ability to break down barriers, connect us with other people and create a new perspective.
Drawing on his own life with partner Wendy (who he tried and failed to persuade to sit in a bag backstage), his parents’ marriage, and frank contributions from audience members, Wood makes Ono’s art relatable through personally involving us in a way I’m sure she’d approve of (although perhaps not the recurring theme of Lennon being shot). A finale of percussion instruments and whistles, directed by a woman from the middle row, concludes things, before the balloons are popped and the lights go down. Stepping back outside, the world seems like a different place: a better one.
Assembly Roxy (Venue 139) until 31 August / listings
Published in The Scotsman on 14 August 2015
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