Modern life is hard. That’s the main message of Drew Taylor-Wilson’s part-poetry, part-performance show, in which the Glasgow-based theatremaker explores everything from eco-anxiety to employment prospects. It’s called Thick Skin, Elastic Heart, but it could just as easily be titled Drew Taylor-Wilson Takes on the World.
On each leg of this Scottish tour, the show is supported by a local spoken-word artist. In Glasgow, it’s Lauran Kelly, who rattles off rapid-fire riffs on periods and politics with aplomb, her giggly wit disguising the bite of her verse.
The ensuing show is not entirely dissimilar: it’s essentially a series of short poems on contemporary issues, penned by Taylor-Wilson, then woven into an overlapping, interweaving tapestry for four committed performers – Charlotte Driessler, Robert Elkin, Cameron Fulton and Danielle Jam.
Under Lucy Wild’s movement direction, the cast slides and swivels across a patchwork set of colourful carpets for 70 minutes, snatching the narrative off each other, chattering over the top of each other, and speaking directly to the audience in unison. It’s extremely slick – if a tiny bit sixth-form drama.
It’s also funny, particularly the sections on which parts of your body it’s socially acceptable to have hair (male and female editions), and on the rejuvenating power of the great British green space (just watch out for the dog shit).
But, despite the humour, and despite Taylor-Wilson being basically right about everything, the show is too scattergun to stun seriously. There’s no drama, only disquisition on everything under the sun, making for an exasperated Twitter thread on stage.