Review: My Stories, Your Emails

February 5, 2010

Ursula Martinez is an internet phenomena, after her magic striptease act got leaked onto the internet. Her magic consists of a single red hanky, that vanishes before the audiences eyes. The twist is she repeats this trick between interludes of stripping. The finale is Martinez completely naked, and still managing to vanish the red hanky… but can anyone guess where she pulls it out of? Don’t imagine too hard, there really isn’t many places to hide it…

In My Stories, Your Emails, Martinez tells the audience what happened after the act got leaked onto the internet. She woke to find hundreds of emails from all over the world from people who had seen the video. Hundreds turned to thousands, and the responses she receives aren’t always the most pleasant of experiences to read. This led to her one woman show performing at the Barbican Theatre as part of the Bite 10 Festival.

My Stories, Your Emails is split into two halfs, the first, stories from Martinez own life, these are the representation of herself from her own point of view. They feature what family have said to her, things she remembers, essentially those stories that we all have inside of us.

The middle of the show consists of the infamous video that brought about the fan emails and the show.

Lastly we are taken into Martinez’ world of fan emails, from the bizarre, the charming, and the down right disgusting.

Martinez has a direct approach to the piece, her bluntness is cutting but hilariously funny. Her stories are comedic snapshots of her life, moments from her Spanish mother, her sister, her father, and most importantly from herself. They offer an insight into her world before the show on the internet. At times it is not Martinez’s stories that are funny but her reaction between them. Staring blankly out to the audience – her expression reads “What the F**k?” again, and again.

Your Emails part of the performance gives a glimpse into the disgusting attraction of men and their sexual desires towards her. Included with these emails are photos of the writers. The responses to her act, are nearly all described in a sexual manner. They portray her act as a sexual, nudity, magic act. Whilst for the best part these emails are disturbingly funny, there is a harrowing message that we take from it:

The portrayal of an ‘ordinary person’, Martinez, who happens to do a magician act whilst stripping doesn’t mean she should be placed in line of sexual forwards by men. Repeatedly the emails from fans ask to meet her, discuss fantasies and propose marriage to her.

The world of the internet has a seedy, and disturbing side that Martinez’s inbox has to endure.

My Stories, Your Emails, is a witty and funny piece for the audience. She equally blends a stand up routine, with her ‘performance’ to create an entertaining night at the Barbican. Oh and those of you who are wanting to perv on Martinez, fear not – she even gets naked at the end.

My Stories, Your Emails is running at the Barbican Pit Theatre as part of the Bite 10 Festival until 13th February, booking via their website


Review: Kefar Nahum

January 22, 2010

There is complete darkness in The Pit Theatre at the Barbican. A strange and alluring soundscape fills the dark. Then somewhere ahead in this darkness, shapes emerge. A caterpillar, an old man, a plume of smoke drifting upwards. In fact, it is just a white sheet being manipulated in the darkness. My imagination is at work here, and I honestly believe that this sheet is the form of two characters sitting on a wall, their dialogue echoed in the atmospheric sounds behind.

This is the work of Belgium based Compagnie Mossoux-Bonté the collaboration between Nicole Mossoux and Patrick Bonté. Their work fuses together the crossroads of theatre and dance, but in Kefar Nahum they explore the manipulation of objects through puppetry and animation.

Kefar Nahum is a dark piece blending the creation of life in objects and material to their destruction through violence of objects. Another feature at the Barbican Theatre in association with the International Mime Festival

It is quite astonishing the way in which the mind works during this performance. It is not that the material is questioning something deep or philosophical but rather our imagination suddenly engages and gets to work. As the object manipulation takes place, narratives are formed – but not through dialogue but through voices inside the mind. There might be a watering can being moved on the stage, but to me, this is the last of the great birds of the south, finding it all rather surprising to come across another person – in this case, the puppeteer.

Whilst Kefar Nahum is a great stimulation of the mind, the ever changing scenes, the fluttering of moments between objects and narratives leaves little for through lines, and fails to completely engage me as an audience member.

Perhaps we’re not even meant to connect with the piece, for other than the puppeteer herself, everything else used are nothing more than inanimate objects, scattered items that have to be brought to life. How can we connect with something that once hands move away from it, they fall off the front of the stage onto the floor – as is the case throughout the whole performance.

If anything this makes me wonder if the piece is for an exclusive audience, and how accessible it is for a larger audience. Whilst there is no narration, and the language is formed through the movement of objects, this object manipulation isn’t for everyone. Unless you’re willing to get lost in shapes and forms that appear in the curves and folds of fabric or disused objects you won’t find much in Kefar Nahum.

It is a shame that once again we have a sinister puppetry show for adults – where are all the simple adult puppetry that don’t deal with the themes of violence and manipulation of being?

Kefar Nahum is part of the International Mime Festival and also part of the Bite 10 Festival at the Barbican Centre. The show finishes on the 23rd January 2010.