Constructing A Fourth Wall
Olivier award winning performer, Ursula Martinez, uses her wry and humorous observations, and a decent amount of bricks, to build a literal and figurative fourth wall between herself and her audience in the subtly subversive “Free Admission.” A show that starts before it even begins, “Free Admission” serves up the world according to Martinez, who and what she loves, who and what pisses her off, and everything in between. From Facebook likes to Twitter selfies, instructions on masturbation to harbouring a secret wish to run through the streets naked to the theme from Rocky, Martinez shows impeccable comic timing in this entertaining interrogation of the absurdity of life, which also delights in subverting the conventions of theatre.
Whether directly in front of her modest proscenium or constructing a wall from behind it, Martinez addresses the audience with confidential and confessional ease. The woman Catherine Tate wishes she could look like, or so Martinez would have it, Martinez’s snappy comedic stylings echo those of Stewart Francis or Milton Jones, quippy one liners or short observational jokes serving up wit, wisdom, anti-wisdom and anything else that’s good for a laugh. As with her construction skills, there’s a neatness and rigour behind Martinez’s comedic ease which sets you up for the big finish. Which, when it arrives, delights not just because of the act itself, which brings all the walls tumbling down, but because of all that went before to get you ready for it.
Martinez might be an egotistical exhibitionist at heart, but she’s damn funny and quite clever doing it. Indeed, it might be nearer the mark to call “Free Admission” a comedy show rather than an arts performance, but that in no way undermines its impact. It might say ‘sometimes’ far more than it needed, but its feel good ending more than compensates. And no, “Free Admission” is not free, but whatever the price of admission, it’s definitely worth it.
“Free Admission” by Ursula Martinez, ran at The Project Arts Centre on June 9th and 10th