Contemporary, physical theatre about Silvio Berlusconi’s impressive assortment of corruption and sexual exploits isn’t usual or at first glance, easy - but Italian theatre company Ursa Maior Teatro give an engaging, funny and clever insight into the Italian Prime Ministers abuses and their wider repercussions. Using minimal props, a spinning wheel, cardboard cut-out of a naked woman (minus the arms), and a figurine hanging from the ceiling complete with horses head, the three performers switch between playing a satirical chorus, intimidating monkeys and members of ‘civilised’ Italian society to ensure that Berlusconi escapes from the 45 minute performance nothing more than completely scathed.

The show manages to comment on political corruption, saturation of information, negative representations of women as well as parodying military rigmarole in a generally absurdist fashion

As the programme points out, however, Berlusconi is used merely to illustrate ‘the contemporary world through the grotesque and absurd.’ The helpful interceptions of recordings of transcripts from court cases dealing with Berlusconi’s relationship with an underage Moroccan girl mean that the audience isn’t required to have a water-tight knowledge of Italian politics.

The show manages to comment on political corruption, saturation of information, negative representations of women as well as parodying military rigmarole in a generally absurdist fashion; alongside teasing the audience with a preview of a dystopian future where a ‘Blackout’ is being enforced, members of the middle class have been imprisoned for various crimes against the state and civil servants are all that have managed to survive out there in the ‘real world’.

Despite the music during the singing numbers being slightly too loud to fully appreciate the contemptuous lyrics and a general DIY feel about the whole performance, the audience leaves with a similar sentiment echoing in their mind to that presented by a trapped ex-call centre worker. She laments the rise of economic and cultural monopolies and urges for a revolution perpetuated by artists to bring about a much needed change.

Reviews by Alaina Briggs

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The Blurb

Marcel is a performance of rebel monkeys, dictators and double faced lyric singers. Inspired by Duchamp and Baum’s 'The Wizard of Oz', crosses the concept of contemporary crisis, which allows wizards, good-natured poseurs and pretenders, to exist. It’s a work on contrary and double: will heart, brain and bravery be enough to get over a crisis?

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