Fierce Festival 2019 / Birmingham, UK / 15 – 20 October

Fierce Press Gang: My Day with Uninvited Guests

If in one word I had to describe what Uninvited Guests create on stage I would say “relative”. Relative today, in our world, in what we see and how we love. This weekend I had the opportunity to see both their shows set in place at Fierce Festival; the first was Make Better Please in which they joined forces with Lewis Gibson. And the second was Love Letters Straight From Your Heart (both performances collaborated with Fuel Theatre.). These two shows stemmed from different areas of our lives and what we view in the world at large, but similarly together they have a therapeutic energy which moves both the audience and the performers.

We arrived at Moseley Friends Institute where Make Better Please was taking place. I was new to their work and decided to keep an open mind, but when reading how they describe themselves as “entertaining and provocative” I felt I had some indication of what I would be getting myself in to! Tea and biscuits were being served, the tea pot was huge and needed an extra pair of hands – it felt like a metaphor for what they were trying to illustrate to us. The chilling cry of “We will make things better! We will make things better!” is to do with what is happening in this world right now and how we feel when reading the news. The scandals, the affairs, the treachery, the wars, the deaths, the pain; it goes on and on in this inevitable mess that we have been caught up in. Uninvited Guests know we can’t make these things go away, but we can think about what is happening in the world with a positive approach and maybe then, with the right mindset, we can banish the “demons of the day” and eventually “make things better”. The performers portrayed corporate fat cats, cabinet ministers and media tycoons in both a phallic and accessible manner which let us undermine these people, and during the performance we start to imagine them as caricatures of their former self. They become a threat that we can take out.

Later on at the show Love Letters, I was imagining the same aggressive passion to be enforced in this performance. It was remarkable seeing the difference of the performers from Make Better Please to this. They seemed calmer, more placid in the warm background of the Trove building, alongside the billowing red drapes covering the walls and the inviting tables with champagne flutes filled with cava; it wasn’t surprising they seemed happy to be there. That night was about raising a glass to lost and current loves, be it mother or lover. The amount of love in the room was palpable; songs were dedicated, speeches were read out, and loves were rekindled. You felt everyone was going on an emotional journey, it was healing to recognise you have loved and been loved – you felt at one with each person involved in that experience.

Both of these theatrical performances make you all unite with friends and strangers, you get to know everybody’s persona but most of all Uninvited Guests made you think and speak out.