Good to see people do still do odd conceptual pieces that leave you sat in an almost empty conference room scratching your head. Nothing Really Means Anything Any More So Shut Up, Tim? finds performer and history teacher Oskar Schortz ruminating on a bad review he received last year from a member of the public called Tim. That show, a simplistic history show, hadn’t agreed with Tim, and we can see why as Oskar performs similar (deliberately) faltering reinterpretations of moments in history. That’s the easy bit. The show then turns in on itself further with exaggerated over-analytical rants, crazy video montages and apparent tech malfunctions, before leaving us with a twist that doesn’t really answer anything. Are we Tim? Is Tim us? Are we in last year’s show? Why is this in the Cabaret section?
It isn’t in the cabaret for the singing, that’s for sure. At one point, Schortz goes for a reggae interpretation of 1066 with a ‘voice’, like Mike Read doing the UKIP Calypso – dreadful, until you realise the cringeworthiness is deliberate and sort of, maybe, explained in the finale?
There’s a large amount of sophisticated retro-tech in the show. The video montages are broadcast on bulky analogue TVs that fizz and crackle as they show cheap-looking but well-edited clips – the first full of memes and pop cultural figures, the second famous people edited together to give a message, Cassetteboy style. It’s all very Max Headroom or 80s music vid. Impressive and it restores the impression that this isn’t a rubbish performer, but someone using rubbishness for another purpose.
That said, the uninitiated shouldn’t wander in here expecting entertainment. You have to stick it out and be prepared to interrogate what you’ve just seen for deeper significance. It might be far cleverer than us. It might just think it’s far cleverer than us. Or it might just prove that nothing really does mean anything and we should all shut up. It’s one of those shows.