Beefcake at Chapter Arts.
November 14th. 1997.
Good cop Bad cop are a duo made up of performance artists John Rowley and Richard Huw Morgan. Perhaps best known for their work with Brith Gof this is their first production as the Cops having run their own company, Das Wunden until a couple of years ago.
As the large audience walks into the studio at Chapter Arts we are uncertain whether we are in a gallery, a theatre or a club. The studio is pitch black with areas of intense lighting scattered around the space and a dimly lit area in the middle that could be a dance floor or perhaps a boxing ring. We mill around nervously waiting until an ear splitting sound launches the action. Two figures lurch and strut from A to B and then back again.
The high energy of the two performers is tamed and framed by photographer, Paul Jeff and is perhaps, more suited to one of Jumpin Jaks’ famous naked nights.
Gradually we realise we are in the performance not just watching. The figures are parading in manic mode then stopping in startling stillness while we are forced to make way for their sweaty forms. Part fashion, part porn show we are voyeurs who would like to look away but are forced to acknowledge the human form in its redundancy. There is a feeling of yearning for another time. A time when there were real things to do, real directions to walk in, real reasons for stopping.
And in the repetition of their actions over the course of many hours we too find ourselves walking and stopping, striking positions, taking shapes which have no meaning in themselves and are all just a circular parade of the body divorced from the mind. The post show discussion was poorly attended due to a drumming class in the neighbouring room but perhaps the conversation in the bar was better anyway.
You can catch the show next at the Splott Community Centre’s Boxing Club night with presumably some fighting spirit added to this brilliant mix.
Milly Max. Arts Correspondent for Out There Magazine.