14/48 #003: “Excuse me, the men in the giant balloon are annoying me.”

On Tuesday night I sat in the Arena Theatre, Wolverhampton and watched a grown man dress as a 1920’s bather, lube himself up and then climb inside a green balloon.

Just take a second to let the previous sentence sink in.

This “performance” was done under the auspices of art and theatre.

On Thursday, Friday and Saturday night I will be sharing a hotel room with said balloon inhabiter as we are both taking part in the Leicester festival.

So far I have seen the distended rubber dweller Alex Turner (Not that one) do anti-comedy, develop a theatre piece which results in the audience helping to create the best action film ever and saw him climb into a huge green balloon. He is probably as close to Vivian Stanshall as I’ll ever get. All of these things have been utterly brilliant and resulted in much giggle juice falling from my seeing baubles rendering them next to useless.

Alex Turner (Not that one) is also tea-total, an amazing actor and sports a physique even Johnny McClean would have to say was impressive. Quite what he’s doing sharing a hotel room with is unfathomable but also the plot to a semi-successful BBC4 sitcom. I will be played by Johnny Vegas and Alex Turner (Not that one) played by Michael Fassbender in a green balloon. Critics would draw parallels to his performance in Frank. This says all you need to know about critics.

Alex Turner (Not that one) has been encouraged to bring the balloon along to 14/48. I have thought about the minimum amount of alcohol I would have to consume before thinking it would be a good idea for me to get inside the balloon. It’s a shockingly low amount. Only a couple of extra beers or a shot of gin would convince me it was a good idea to get in the balloon with Alex Turner (Not that one). I mentioned this to writer and walking facial topiary model Matt Beames who is staying in the same hotel. He reckons there will be a commotion outside his room. He will look outside and see a huge green balloon bouncing down the corridor with two grown men laughing inside. Even if this doesn’t happen Beamsey owes it to 14/48 folklore to say it did.

And this is a crucial point of 14/48. It’s not just about the stories which make up the 14 world premier plays delivered in 48 hours. It’s also about the stories of the participants and what they get up to. It’s about the morning breakfasts in chain pubs. It’s about racing across town to source swimming hats. It’s about climbing security fences to escape halls of residence at 6.30am on Sunday morning because you got locked in.

Sometimes what happens off stage is weirder than what happens on stage. So when a traveller in a local complains about a huge green balloon upsetting their sleep it might be an idea to check if it’s 14/48 weekend.

Dave Pitt
4th May 2017. 8:16
@davethepitt