Ursula Martinez: Free Admission (Soho Theatre)
The performance artist brings her newest show to the Soho following its premiere at the Southbank Centre last year
Ursula Martinez is an Olivier Award-winning performance artist with a loyal following in the cabaret scene. Her 'thing' seems to be nudity in the name of investigating topics including family, growing old and homosexuality. Her latest show attempts to tackle (no pun intended) our obsession with social media and self-promotion.
Unfortunately, Free Admission is not an enlightening look at the modern world à la the Donmar's Privacy, but rather 60 minutes of cock jokes, toilet humour and arbitrary statements about Facebook and Instagram. A whole hour is dedicated to listing things she thinks sometimes; 'sometimes I like to make sure my bumhole is clean so I stick a finger up it', 'sometimes I get upset when my tweets don't get favourited'.
Nostalgic recollections of racist schoolground poems that Jeremy Clarkson would be proud of and stereotypical ethnic accents are possibly meant, like the cock jokes, to shock but do little other than invoke nervous titters from the audience.
Martinez makes a couple of attempts to touch on issues that may be of some interest or importance; suing the NHS for malpractice when her father passed away, her uncle's murder in the Spanish Civil War. But these observations come across as an attempt to balance out the tone rather than offer any sort of meaningful insight.
It's all just rather banal and to make matters worse this repetitive routine is recited whilst Martinez assembles a breeze block wall for no apparent reason other than to have something to do with her hands rather than make wanking gestures.
Forget Free Admission, you'd have to pay me a lot to sit through that again.
Ursula Martinez - Free Admission runs at the Soho Theatre until 20 February.