Kate Tempest & The Brand New Ancients

Billy Bragg + Sound of Rum - Sun 13 November 2...

Billy Bragg + Sound of Rum – Sun 13 November 2011 -0099 (Photo credit: The Queen’s Hall)

Kate Tempest poured wisdom in street tales of ordinary folks struggling, loving and dying in our monstrous every day world. At 26 she has a gift for slicing through character.

Her delivery is understated, her accent could have been affected but it works for her act, and she did tell stories beautifully. Her timing was accentuated by a 4 piece ensemble of musicians emoting her messages, backing her characters. We followed the narrative and sometimes she rapped with a mic, striding the stage. She looks like a child disarming with her wit, unbothered by her appearance, very casual, long curly blond hair.

It kept coming back, the theme of being real in a world obsessed by airbrushing and status – how we bow to that instead of to real people, each other. Kate captured that, by dissecting the mind of a bar maid, the true friendship between hardened criminals and other flawed ordinaries, with poetry. I didn’t cry but I almost did. Nothing in particular really. Just her general knack for teasing something about my heart. I smiled at her a lot, so glad for her talent to shine and inspire others. She can affect people and gave me shivers – that counts.

Brand New Ancients celebrates everyday heroes that we all are; surviving today, and sees the best in each and every ugly one of us, because nothing is black and white.

A matinee audience of school children applauded.

“Thing is, you’re perfect. Because of your imperfections.”

“25 is halfway between non-existence and the infinite.”

Lives of certain individuals from uncouth beginnings, random encounters, climactic violence between the afflicted, addicted and broken; to a moment of heroism and realisation. An old codger dies in Thailand not quite happy with his bride.

“The gods are right here, as farfetched as it sounds, every one’s a god, no kings, no crowns
Just us, one being, infinity, that’s holy, gods messed up lonely
Squashed stressed out dumbed down raging wasted same as it ever was
Brand new ancients”

Suffragette Revealed

Rae Flack's images caught the mood

A caged female stares at an audience arriving

Fresh flowers are treated to a trim, stalks first, heads last, all across the boards

Barricaded in, furniture encloses me

Petals scattered, scissor blades are turned to my prim attire

Blouse pierced I hack at sleeves and torso

Flesh revealed, I freeze in crazed stupor

Rae Flack's collages

My thighs are thick with an effervescing femininity as I perform Emmeline Pankhurst

Stripping in stages to discordant Schoenberg;  a feminist raging release from her clothes

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In the early 20th Century Suffragettes gathered at what is now the Battersea Arts Centre for radical meetings. Now this theme is recaptured with theatrical intent. A director instructs me to move subtly as I take the scissors to my garments. But it’s all in the moment, and I just can’t help myself.

There is something extremely potent about tearing one’s clothes off with total abandon, so I just go with it like a wild woman. Yet each impulsive thrust is followed by my contemplative stillness; I hold back for a unique build up of my own sexual tension, not directed to this audience, if only to the one in my mind.

Every performance has a new costume for me to destroy. The artists cut me up too, collages created, and a violent, sexy undressing given shape.