Grayson Perry, Symphony Hall, Birmingham - review

There is more to Grayson Perry than meets the eye he is not just an artist but a sociologist, psychologist and comedian all wrapped in one detailed smock dress and topped off with platform boots.

Grayson Perry
Grayson Perry

And last night audience members at Birmingham's Symphony Hall were able to vote on aspects of British life, playing on taste, class, identity and opinion in his new entertaining and informative show..

The night began with a compilation of scenes from various documentaries the artist has created looking at the British public from their personal taste to how we understand and view ourselves in the class system, demonstrating the inquisitive yet thoughtful manner of the Turner prize winner.

Bursting onto the stage draped in a gold smock dress, Grayson’s blunt and astute humour was a treat and the manner in which he picked at the entirely minuscule aspects of life that we Brits love to hate - such as Buskers in Grayson’s case - in a way that was enlightening and relatable.

Bringing two flags onto the stage he demonstrated the opposing sides of his personality when he was younger, the punk and the hobbit. Contrasting his aggressive, tough side with his appreciation of craftsmanship and heritage, the two sides served as either end of a cultural spectrum, becoming increasingly important throughout the night as more political opinions factored into the performance.

Using Clickapads we witnessed democracy in action, as a voting system allowed us to cast our opinion on various aspects of British culture such as which city was disliked the most, whether we’re well mannered or considerate and the incredibly divisive dogs or cats debate.

The only thing Grayson ominously promised was that our voting would come back to haunt us.

In a poignant moment the artist informed the audience that no matter how much we believe that dogs are better than cats or that all net curtains should be removed from the face of the earth, these are our beliefs and they shouldn’t be treated as anything more than that.

What we believe is not actually a fact it is merely our opinion.

Commendation is awarded to the manner in which Grayson dealt with the topic of Brexit, in a show entitled Us and Them its impossible not to be reminded of the divisive EU referendum.

However rather than start off with it, or really mention it at all, the artist asked us our opinions regarding everything under the British sun, hilariously making light of the options and the outcome.

It was after that, the show tackled the topic of Brexit. The order of the performance leading up to this point was so light-hearted and relaxed that it removed any anger, from both sides.

Briefly discussing the vote as the artist finished the show likened it to a casual conversation about whether the milk should go in the cup before the teabag or last, because essentially, our opinion is the basis of our decisions.

Grayson’s rational and realistic approach to everything that now classes him as an elite figure of society; the art world, comfortably living in London meant that not only was he laughing at himself but we were laughing at ourselves whilst realising more about the society we live in.

Perhaps he should run for PM.

By Eleanor Forrest

Top Stories

More from the Express & Star

UK & International News