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11:37 AM 20th June 2017
arts

STUFF - Grassington Festival 2017

Sean Kempton
Sean Kempton
Crimson lace ups, shinny gold leggings, old school dial-up telephones, clowning mimicry and a glowing smile.

Need I say more? Wacky Cirque de Soleil carnival comic, Sean Kempton, is here!

Grassington Festival's first Friday saw Sean Kempton take to the stage with his fabulously quirky solo show, STUFF, delighting all those in the village of Grassington's cosy Octagon theatre.

STUFF is far more than 'stuff'.

STUFF, is above all, about LOVE in all its many forms: ecstasy, elation, pain, agony, lust and desire - but it is also immensely funny. Kempton captivates and amuses the audience from the start with his bendy measuring tape, incongruous head torch and seeming fetish for hurling and sharing shoes.

Kempton powerfully uses interviews to illuminate the very different and intensely personal interpretations of love. What is love in the eyes his of six year-old daughter? How does it compare to those deeply heart felt words on love divulged by a 22 year-old woman? And, later, an 83 year-old interviewee admits 'Love takes over your whole body'. All this interjected with chaotic joyous clowning and frivolity. So, what is love to you?

Using light bulbs, strewn red rose petals, a black marker pen and a six year old's little red boots, he sets and unsets the scene in the most unconventional ways.

An audio feast from Prince's Purple Beret, Flamenco, to Beatles ballads and the drone of heavy rainfall, forms an eclectic backdrop to his clowning mime, jarring body contortions, audience interaction and effortless ballet. Always dazzling us with a plethora of facial expression, he moves us through his constantly morphing act.

Attempting the unbelievable - a grown man pushes his way through the birth canal - to the sound track of Space Odyssey 2001. Then, pulling on a shimmering ruby red jacket and playfully hurling paper money, the pace quickly changes, to question the way we live and think. What is important love? Or money?

Entirely original and unique, extremely interactive and humorous, Kempton had us in laughter and then, within seconds, back into deep in thought. His show started with a written note "What is Love?" and ends with a sense of intimacy, honesty and a room of people bound by enormous commonality and good feeling.

STUFF is amongst the best acts to be seen at Grassington Festival. Hats off, or should I say shoes off to Sean Kempton.

Exceptionally comical, beautifully choreographed and enormously clever.

Just brilliant.

STUFF by Sean Kempton. Reviewed by Chloe Vereker.