REVIEW: Rear View

Cecilia Knapp and Jemima Foxtrot on board the Rear View buss
Cecilia Knapp and Jemima Foxtrot on board the Rear View buss

Keep an eye out on the Prom this weekend, and you might just catch a snippet of a life remembered.

Audiences are being transported through back streets of the town centre, and through the memories of a 65-year-old woman in the brand new production Rear View.

Passers-by won’t fail to miss the unusual open-backed bus as it parks by the Cenotaph before heading along the Prom from the Metropole to Gynn Square and back to the Grundy Art Gallery.

For those on board it’s a strange experience, taking in the sights of the town from this perspective.

The bus really should become a permanent feature on the resort’s tourist trail. It’s a brilliant way to see our iconic skyline, especially in the glorious sunshine, and would make a wonderful addition to the visitor offering.

Sadly, though, the Blackpool version of Rear View as a piece of performance art doesn’t quite ring home.

Poet and performer Jemima Foxtrot weaves what could be an intriguing tale. Her unnamed woman is a life model, who starts to consider her place in life while posing for an art class, before inviting the students to follow her and hop on board the bus.

She recalls getting a tattoo, and writing letters to a mysterious someone - a never-forgotten teenage love, I assume.

But for this ‘location specific’ work, there are far too many whimsical vaguaries.

In a town full of interesting people with fascinating stories to tell, Blackpool arts body and Rear View commissioners LeftCoast and theatre company IOU have missed a trick in failing to tap into this wealth of potential.

The non-specific nature of the ‘location specific’ performances were a disappointment, and left me feeling like Rear View lacked the potential impact it could have had.

The concept of following someone’s journey through the literal back streets of their mind is one I wanted to envelop my imagination.

Despite that, if the weather holds out for the weekend, it’s still worth hopping on board for the experience.

* Rear View, various times, today, tomorrow and Saturday. www.leftcoast.org.uk