Tonight I’m Gonna Be the New Me
Made In China
After a successful run in Edinburgh, ‘Made in China’ are the first of the post-fringe transfers to arrive at the Soho Theatre with ‘Tonight I’m Gonna be the New Me’.
A bold, unusual opening is perhaps the most memorable and exciting element of the show; Jessica Latowski emerges onto the bare box of a stage in sequined disco pants, knee-pads, and a denim crop-top, and shows some remarkable stamina and endurance as we are forced to watch her quite literally shaking herself to the point of exhaustion.
The opening movement sequence leads to Jess explaining to us that this was a dance she had pre-prepared for us tonight; the first of ‘Made-In-China’s’ comments on the show’s awareness of itself as a piece of theatre. This alienation continues throughout the piece, varying between narration and Jess stepping out of stories and commenting that we are watching ‘a show’.
We are told that this show was written by Latowski’s boyfriend (in real life) and other half of ‘Made in China’- Tim Cowbury and he is operating the lights tonight. We immediately start to question the motivation behind what is being said and the interludes of obscure and unsettling dances: are they Tim’s or Jess’s intentions? One of the highlights of the piece is the outsmarting witticisms Jess bounces back and forth with boyfriend Tim; the contemptuous undermining of one another seemed to bring a fire and thrill to Jess’s following interactions with the audience, provoking her demands to individuals to ‘say this’ which bought a lovely comedic quality to the show and were very entertaining indeed.
The examining of her relationship with the co-creator of the piece explore the idea of control. The audience are also being manipulated by what we see and what we are told to say, and are made to wonder if we can trust anything we are told throughout the show, though dare not cross the absolute assertive confidence Latowski dominates us with.
We are seduced by Latowski’s tenacity and charm and her depictions of clichéd images of love, only to have them playfully, and at times painfully, ripped apart, ultimately making the whole idea of a relationship feel relatively hopeless.
The piece follows a circular style climaxing in the actress once again pushing herself through movement, whether it be her own or Tim’s decision, to the point where she can no longer continue and is finally exhausted- holding on to the wall as she leaves the space after bowing. It is both amusing and uncomfortable to watch, at the beginning and the end of the show.
Initially after leaving the theatre, I was unsure as to whether ‘Tonight I’m Gonna be the New Me’ had been any more than an entertaining hour of relationship-fuelled escapism, however this piece is one of subtlety, intelligence, and hidden depth, and will leave you provoked to question; what do we as an audience expect from theatre: does the audience need to ‘feel’ anything? And most importantly, where can one acquire some equally magnificent sequinned disco pants for oneself?
On until 26th September 2015.
©Elle Dillon-Reams 2015