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Jet of Blood review at Zoo, Edinburgh – ‘painful and uncompromising’

Mari Moriarty's Jet of Blood at Zoo, Edinburgh Mari Moriarty's Jet of Blood at Zoo, Edinburgh
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The star of last year’s critically acclaimed Sasquatch: The Opera unleashes a very different beast with Jet of Blood.

Writer Mari Moriarty tells the autobiographical story of a 14-year-old boy named John, whose life was altered irrevocably as a result of serial sexual abuse. In a graphic and disturbing fusion of dance, physical theatre and spoken word, Moriarty exposes the effects of this abuse and, even more painfully, how nobody believed the victim.

The intense, chaotic use of movement reflects the maelstrom of physical abuse the boy suffers, but it also indicates the shifts in his own psychological development. As John, Alexandra Miyashiro skits playfully about the stage, restless with hormones pumping. With the arrival of his classmate Brian (Matthew Brown), the fun spirals out of control into rape, drug addiction and self harm. John’s childhood is over, dissolving to a soundtrack of Miley Cyrus and self-mutilation.

That Jet of Blood is Moriarty’s pain is writ large. The aesthetic is punctuated with flashes of pornography, pirouettes and finally a monologue to underline the abuse in no uncertain terms. Finally, Moriarty herself appears, the abuser’s name etched into her naked body. This might not be justice, but it’s as powerful a response as an artist can give.

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Painful and uncompromising retribution realised in performance art