More top-notch performances as Arches LIVE draws to a close

Share this article

Arches LIVE came to a close last week with a satisfyingly eclectic collection of all that is great in the world of Scottish performance art.

Leading the charge of new pieces by emerging artists were Emilia Weber and Claire Healy with their work ‘There They Carved A Space’.

After a slightly shaky opening, followed by a ghostly musical interlude, the duo soon gain confidence as they deliver a wide-ranging investigation into the politics of space.

Combining autobiographical detail with a more general indictment of the way social housing provision in the UK has been eroded by rampant capitalism, Weber and Healy deliver intertwining monologues accompanied by video footage. The film is projected onto a screen and their faces; the artists very much becoming part of the buildings and spaces they are examining.

It’s a wonderful work which provokes sadness and anger in equal measure - no more so than when Glasgow’s Commonwealth Games ‘legacy’ is put on trial.

After the wordy polemic of Weber and Healy, F K Alexander’s ‘Recovery’ acts as a soothing balm - an hour-long meditation to music which is more happening than show.

The audience are relieved of their shoes, drinks and jackets and urged to stretch out on a variety of cushions before a group of musicians deliver an ethereal soundtrack with singing bowls and white noise.

Even for chakra-skeptics it’s a truely restorative experience which passes in a flash.

Then it’s an equally swift journey from the spiritual to the comic for Thomas Hobbins and his alter ego Max Powers - a self help guru intent on transforming the lives of everybody in his audience.

Hobbins’ creation is a delightful monster, filled with a perfect mixture of bravado and thinly-veiled self-doubt.

A mixture of story-telling and audience participation is used to flesh out the character, though he’s ultimately too funny for a late attempt at pathos to be truly successful.