“Undeniably weird, but in the best way possible. “
It’s very hard to describe Tribute Acts. It is, essentially, what would happen if you fell asleep during the changeover between a biopic on childhood and a documentary on the last twenty years of British politics – after, about an hour before, sticking your face in a plastic tub of peyote.
Over the course of an hour, Cheryl Gallacher and Tess Seddon took us on a journey through their childhoods, dictated by their relationships with their fathers – as revealed through a series of interviews cleverly projected on stage. Of course, nothing’s fun if it makes sense: prepare to see inflating suits, saxophones, and the most terrifying incarnation of Margaret Thatcher ever conceived. It’s undeniably weird, but in the best way possible.
But I’d be lying if I didn’t say the show’s biggest strength was its heart. The touch of the personal is clear throughout, but especially at the show’s ending. Gallacher and Seddon succeed in capturing admiration and disappointment through what ends up being very poignant and touching interviews with each-others fathers, and translate that feeling to the stage without losing any impact.
And there’s no denying that Gallacher and Seddon are just fun to watch. As they pranced around the stage, it was clear that they were having a good time with what they were doing – especially watching the audience reaction to their more left-field jokes. This is very much their show, and their personalities shined throughout.
Unfortunately, however, some of their act felt underplanned or under-rehearsed. Problems such as lines coming off as wooden, or accidentally overlapping with pre-recorded interview footage tarnished their act. And whilst many of the jokes from the interviews were genuinely funny, often the on-stage jokes seemed to fall a little flat; either lacking in energy, or just feeling a little too awkwardly delivered. More than once, there was an uncomfortable silence where we knew a laugh should have been.
The show was still enjoyable despite these gripes, and I think Gallacher and Seddon’s message survived them largely intact. This is a show that stays with you after you’ve seen it, for better or for worse. And, at the very least, it’ll make you want to call your dad.
Reviewer: Jacob Close (Seen 13 August)
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