Updated 1:36am 10 November 2012

REVIEW: Council House Movie Star at Camp and Furnace, Liverpool

THEATRICAL performance or immersive live art installation?

With Council House Movie Star the lines are blurred from the moment you, the audience, pick your way through the discarded bottles of Pomagne and follow the strains of Agadoo wafting out through the open door of ‘number 74’.

But that’s no bad thing in this free show/exhibition – on from noon to 5pm daily as part of the 2012 Homotopia festival – that mixes paintings, people and projections in such a novel way.

It’s certainly a different way of spending an afternoon, not so much as a fly on the wall as a ghost in the midst of the unfolding comi-tragic home life of ageing drag queen and faded child star of OMO washing powder commercials Gale Force (performer and Edge Hill lecturer Mark Edward) – a private peek behind the public facade.

Here Gale pushes a carpet sweeper across the shagpile, while a scally youth slumps on the settee texting messages with one hand while the other is plunged with studied carelessness down his trackie bottoms.

The performance ebbs and flows depending on the cast of characters and time of day.

At other times you might find her revving up to perform a singular, faux-karaoke version of Una Paloma Blanca, while friend Chris D’Bray chips in with a hilarious take off of Cilla Black’s You’re My World, gurning along like a be-sequined woodpecker.

Designer Olivia du Monceau, who also worked on DreamThinkSpeak’s Capital of Culture hit One Step Forward, One Step Back, has created a replica of a rundown 70s local authority flat complete with peeling patterned wallpaper, utility furniture, candlewick bedspreads and a toilet straight out of Trainspotting.

There’s certainly attention to detail inside the flat’s four walls, from the stand-alone cabinets straight out of my great aunt’s kitchen to kitsch tourist tat picked up on a package holiday to the Costas, and the detritus of a party including, in one corner, the faint smell of vomit and Dettol.

Step through the shower meanwhile and, like Narnia, you’re transported into a different world where you can perch on a toilet seat and watch a movie created by Edward with film-maker Rosa Fong, while an exhibition (in a Yoko Ono-style white space) of large oils of Gale Force painted by artist Pete Bennett completes the idiosyncratic experience.

8 Home entertainment

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