The Arches, Glasgow
“By taking away my choice,” Marcus Roche soft-soaps his audience at one
point, “you've given me my freedom.” Such sentiments may sound like
they've been crafted by the snake-oil salesman this writer, director,
performer and self-starting multi-tasker extraordinaire resembles.
Given that Roche was actually preparing to flog off his vote for
today's Scottish independence referendum as he toadied up to us with
such gloriously contrary platitudes, however, he's pretty much on the
money whatever the result.
Of course, as with the real-life ebay shyster who attempted to sell his
vote online, no back-handers were actually pocketed in Roche's
one-night only extrapolation of just how much money talks when politics
is involved. Darting from laptop to lectern beneath two opposing flags
of convenience in his contribution to the Arches' Early Days Referendum
Festival, Roche does his bit for internationalism by way of soundbites
from French and Russian rock-and-roll economists. As soundtracked by
cheesy 1980s pop, they might have stepped straight from a special
referendum edition of Eurotrash.
Flogging off a Cornetto to the highest bidder is just a warm-up to the
reverse auction of Roche's polling card that follows, however, in a
show that, like his previous work on Risk and The Agony and Ecstasy of
Steve Jobs, mines the conceits of the lecture circuit to become a piece
of live art stand-up. It has serious intentions too, as a largely young
audience tell all about how they'd like things to go after today's vote
with clarity and candour. As borderline illegal exercises go, it's a
whole lot more honest than anything any politician ever did, and much
more fun besides.
The Herald, September 18th 2014