Tonight I’m Gonna Be the New Me at the SohoCultureTheatre
Made in China is an innovative young theatre company comprising real-life couple Jess Latowicki and Tim Cowbury. Fresh from an Edinburgh Festival run, the pair brings Tonight I’m Gonna Be the New Me – a study of the public persona of a coupling and the crisis of individual identity within it – to Soho Theatre.
Within the claustrophobic confines of the upstairs studio, the relationship itself is laid bare as a piece of performance art, blending a disjointed narrative, presented largely through monologue (which Latowicki tells us was authored by Cowbury), with frenetically free-flowing dance sections (which, she says, exist and succeed “in spite of him”). It’s an intricate work that approaches familiar themes from artful new angles and shirks definite statements in forcing its audience to think for themselves.
Tasked with driving the performance, Latowicki does superbly. Emoting through exhaustively lengthy dances while clad in sequined hot pants, she forensically explores themes of feminine energy, power, sexuality, and oppression. When standing still, the self-referential script allows her to establish an air of jovial authenticity, while Cowbury’s presence blurs the boundaries governing each contributor’s roles and motivations within the performance (and those separating fact from fiction). It’s not long before the fourth wall is battered down, leaving the couple bickering, despairing, and venting at each other from their respective stations on stage, and at the control booth to the side of the house– actively challenging the comfort of those over whose heads they are sniping.
In ostensibly improvised asides, through deft conspiratorial polling of the punters, Jess ensures that this challenge is made even more directly. Those in attendance are coerced, if not into picking a side, then at least into relating some part of the unfolding chaos to their own lives. In keeping with the rest of the performance, this device is not clear-cut: for each question that Jess puts to a chosen onlooker, she also supplies the answer which best suits her side of the story (or that written for her), subtly dictating the exact response.
Through the inherent suggestion that all relationships are, in a sense, a show, and so must comprise a complex tangle of manipulations and exploitations, Tonight I’m Gonna Be the New Me makes for a compelling, if frequently uncomfortable, slice of cutting-edge entertainment.
Tonight I’m Gonna Be the New Me is on at Soho Theatre from 7th September until 26th September 2015, for further information or to book visit here.
Watch the trailer for Tonight I’m Gonna Be the New Me here: