Ann Liv Young: Mermaid Show

The New York tour de-force returns with the UK premiere of this fearless performance.

A bare-breasted woman with long hair, a silvery mermaid tail and reptilian contact lenses writhes lasciviously in a plastic basin. Rasping Katy Perry’s Firework into the microphone, she butchers a raw fish and tries to peel herself out of her slippery skin. She is a mermaid, retelling her life story. But whereas mermaids are Disneyfied in modern culture, in folk tales they seduce, capture and kill sailors. Their allure is inescapable. They are sexualized but also grotesque fish creatures who are, in fact, sexless. We are disgusted, intrigued and turned on.

Following re-interpretations of Snow White and Cinderella, Ann Liv Young has now turned her attention to The Little Mermaid. Uninhibited, unselfconscious and thriving on interaction, it is the response of the spectator, provoked by Young’s corporeal rather than linguistic dialogue, that determines her performance.

Performing here for the fourth time, the Arches is delighted to welcome back one of the most inimitable and controversial performance artists of the current moment. Known for her combative stage persona, shocking physicality and raucous relationship with her audience, Young’s work explores issues of femininity, feminism and transgression. Always brave, always controversial and always utterly original.

Vulgar, raunchy, funny and ear-splittingly loud
Time Out New York

Part of Behaviour 2012the Arches’ festival of live performance.