Because the girls were taking part in the finale of the Blind Tiger Club at the Bristol Old Vic, we arrived at the Arnolfini Auditorium a few minutes after the doors had opened on Theatre SKAM’s Fashion Machine.
This meant we didn’t initially get a seat front and centre, but were able to skulk towards the rear of the auditorium. For once, this is a good thing as when you enter this show you are asked to make a choice; either you are happy to let the children permanently alter your clothes and wear the ‘I’m In’ badge or, alternatively, you wear the ‘Chicken’ badge if you don’t want to face your favourite jeans being turned into a pear of blingy shorts and a matching bag!
Our 9 and 10 year old girls are chickens and we didn’t think to wear clothing that we could sacrifice in the name of entertainment, but they insist that I am ‘in’, and then hold my arm up for the entire time the 7 teams of artist/makers circle the auditorium to choose their victims.
Luckily for me my standard jeans & t-shirt outfit didn’t take the artists’ fancy so they live to fight another day and instead the (almost entirely) female children choose entirely female outfits to alter.
The willing victims have ‘before’ photos taken, and are interviewed by their teams, before giving up their clothes for 55 minutes of cutting, altering, accessorising, and amending.
The audience are free to walk around the auditorium and watch the action, and a huge video screen loops through interviews with the children and blooper reels, the Theatre SKAM artists constantly on the microphone telling us whats happening, interviewing the children as they work, and telling us about themselves, they are Canadian, but I don’t think anyone noticed…
When the working time is up each team gets to do their grand reveal, and we get to hear about their motivation, what inspired their choices, and the brave victims do their turn on the catwalk.
It’s a two hour show, but it’s all very relaxed; there is always something going on to hold the attention, but it never feels overwhelming. Our girls both left wanting to be part of the team if SKAM ever bring Fashion Machine back to Bristol.
Here’s what they thought of Fashion Machine:
They were AMAZING! I liked all the little video skits they did to entertain people while they were waiting and also the little quizzes for Canadian treats.
My favourite outfit was Team Number 1’s flower dress and the way they showed the outfit before and after.
I liked the blooper videos – they were very funny.
- Celeste aged 9
The show was really good. The videos were funny. It was clever and the children really good. I didn’t exactly like the outfits but that is my opinion. There were little quizzes for Canadian snacks.
It was good overall.
- Ada, aged 10
Find out more about Theatre SKAM here
- Review by Mark Bradshaw, Celeste and Ada