Grade Expectations

Tue 8th – Sat 12th March 2016

reviews

Bartholomew West

at 00:57 on 9th Mar 2016

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‘Pablo’ Price has done it again with a comedy sketch show that genuinely made urine burst forth from my bladder. For good times and laugh out loud moments Grade Expectations is the place to be. A meta-theatrical journey through the surreal mind of what many would call the greatest genius of the Cambridge theatre scene; it’s a tragedy that this will be his self-proclaimed final work.

I was at first unsure of what to expect as I walked into the Corpus Playroom. I had heard about ‘Pablo’ Price’s good-looks and wit but nothing could prepare me for the suit, the sunglasses, the hat, the worn New Balance trainers … Sorry, as I was saying… what soon became clear was that this wasn’t your run of the mill sketch show. Instead what Price has created is an intricate and complex post-post-modern masterpiece, wrapped in the honey of meta-theatre and dipped in the sweet fruit of humour.

Many will be confused by the stage design, particularly the salt line which crosses the stage diagonally, like that previously used in his debut-flop ‘Frozen’. However in this I see a powerful examination of the human condition. The complexity of emotions is visualised brilliantly by the salt which breaks across the stage: it divides and isolates the characters, providing a cage within which Price paces for the 20-odd years the play spans. After all only salt can melt ice. Of course the salt is also evocative of Satan, reflective of the demonic pleasures of the piece. Whether it be a used-condom or a greasy chicken, what Price creates is a hyper-sensory performance art piece, instilling both vomit-inducing nausea and orgasmic euphoria.

There were certain technical hiccups during the opening night, including a section where a deranged half-naked man somehow got on to stage beginning a 200 minute fight with ‘Pablo’ Price, but I’m sure such problems will be resolved in time for the rest of the run. I’m willing to give Price the benefit of the doubt, for he is clearly far more intelligent and much more artistically visionary than both myself and the rest of the stupid and Philistine critics of Cambridge.

Grade Expectations was perfectly selected for the Corpus Playroom. The division of the L-shaped space reflected the provocative divisiveness of the piece, with quite literally one section in hysterics whilst the other remained silent. The sheep must of course be separated from the mindless goats, one forced to breed whilst the other must be annihilated. Price perfectly created a microcosm of modern angst as faces mixed in shock and laughter. In the words of Price ‘this side laughed this side didn’t… what does that say about society? … divided.’

The final question that must be asked is whether ‘Grade Expectations’ truly lives up to its great expectations, and the answer is definitively yes. In the eyes of Bartholomew West Esq. Price’s assertion ‘#IAMGOD’ is not one of hubris, but rather honesty as he enacts miracle upon miracle, turning a single fish to a thousand, and transforming a single wild horse to a blessing of unicorns. Water became wine as the audience reveled in the Dionysian pleasures of the flesh, as bodies writhed and uncontrollable laughs broke forth. To quote Price himself, ‘One God... I am... God I am.... ma I doG....‪#‎pricetag‬ ‪#‎gradexpectationsmorelikecorpuswankfest‬ ‪#‎peaceandlove‬’.

Oh and the rest of the cast was alright as well.

6/5 wasn't an option but I'd certainly choose it if it t'were.

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