The rave culture from the late 1980s is a distant memory for those who can recall it. The politics of the time were undoubtedly marred by the banning of events with “repetitive beats” as a punishable crime. Granted, the drug laden party goers are the reason for the ban and not so much the music, what exactly was it like to be in the rave culture? In Bed With My Brother have created We Are Ian, the name sake in question being Ian Taylor. A former DJ and a painter and decorator, he has been approach by this theatre group to formulate a memoir of this time. Whilst he had grand visions of 12 part epic with a young boy as him (just picture that), this was swiftly brushed aside for this condensed, more approachable look at the culture.
We Are Ian features Dora Lynn, Nora Alexander and Kat Cory, three powerhouse performers in a work which contain so much energy you can feel electricity in the air. Their relentless dance episodes are rampant and stylised with flair, as the beats go on and on. This time capsule is brought back to life with a vivid assault on the senses as we go along with eyes bulging and mouths open, roaring with laughter. There is some clever word play with drug slang of the time and remixes of the era.
No biscuit survives this rave apocalypse. I of course mean real biscuits and not the drug (biscuit meant an ecstasy pill), though the show is its own amazing high anyway. Most are either ferociously eaten by the cast, offered to us to try (it was dryer than Oscar Wilde) or smashed against the floor, leaving biscuit dust everywhere. For a brief moment I was horrified as bashed up biscuits in the packet were shaken over my head, in one of many ice breaking acts throughout the night. As we hear Ian recount stories and insight about what it meant to take part, a flicking light bulb flashes as he speaks, though he soon stops and leave the three of them in the dark, forcing themselves in a remarkable dance of death. We deeply feel their exhaustion here, by the end of their struggle they pant on the ground recovering from their frenzied choreography.
The humour of the show is a great selling point as well. A vision of Thatcher on a screen results in screaming from all three, perhaps the funniest moment of the whole show. Their reactions to audience participation is another great example, as their over abundance to the situation is met with bewilderment by us as spectators. This is not a show for those not so keen on audience participation, since no prisoners remain. We Are Ian’s success is proven by its ending as they encouraged us to take part in the rave, as most in the audience got up on stage and did the Mashed Potato and Cold Spaghetti moves for one last time.
This is one rave you wont want to miss this winter.