Liam Gordon’s review of Professional Supervision

All it takes is a JACKASS to finish off Flare

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We all have those growing up stories. The awkwardness of our first love, those untold stories of classroom embarrassment and the want to find acceptance. The final piece of tonight’s triple bill had Thomas Martin’s ‘Professional Supervision’, -or “How Johnny Knoxville’s Consciousness Travelled from the Future to Live Inside my Teenage Head” – accompanied by guitarist Luke Novac, set and ready to tell his off beat, indie coming of-age-story; investigating personal identity, through the lens of speculative fiction.

Martin and Novac enter to a simply set stage of a table and chair, a side tabled set laptop and a guitar. They settle, look out to us with a welcoming nod, smile and begin. The story, we are told, is of Martin moving from Northern Scotland to Houston, Texas as a teenager, and growing up with the consciousness of Johnny Knoxville (of Jackass) travelling from the future to live inside his head.

Described as an idea which came about during a read of his thoroughly written dream diary, we follow his story as he slips between moments of nostalgia, interplay between autobiography and biographical accounts, fiction and song; constantly blurring our perception on what is real and what is not. “This is going to suck” he proclaims, as the titles role on the screen behind in tune to the rhythm of the guitar.

The narrative continues as we are transported to the heat of Texas. Amidst the recounts of his driving test, growing a meter in length at the age of 13 and meeting his first love; we hear the voice of Johnny Knoxville – exposing the inner voice Martin begins to toil with. Fuelled with the excitement of disgust and the body’s limitations, Knoxville’s inner voice pushes Martin to inhale chilli peppers trough his navel cavity, eat ice cream mixed with meat, rip apart a pineapple with his fists and – in a very absurdly detailed account – fish his schools faculty member’s gargantuan stool from the sewage cannel. Viewing the applauding and vomiting spectators, continues to allow Knoxville to oppress Martin’s subconscious; as we continue to wonder where reality is.

A very entertaining performance exploring the inner turmoil of our presence against our inner most transgressive thoughts. An engaging narrative with its simplistic direct nature, juvenile take on pop culture and humour; offering up a very visceral perspective on ageing and the stories we tell to try and contextualise or excuse what we did growing up. The contemporary and bizarre ‘The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole’ of our indie generation.

Liam Gordon

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