Out Of Order

HOME Theatre, Manchester; Wednesday 13th November, 2019


Someone’s gonna cry

If you say goodbye

Someone’s tears will fall in vain

They’re gonna fall, fall, fall, fall, fall, like rain

And who’s tears will they be

Someone’s gonna cry


-Val Martinez


But not me. There is no fucking way I’m gonna cry this time. I’ve been in several abusive (performance <-> audience) relationships before, no matter how many times they play that song on loop I WILL NOT CRY.

It’s a nice enough song, quite catchy. But by the third or fourth time it’s looped around, you just want it to stop – and exactly the same can be said for the whole performance.

No tears are going to bring back the £17.50, it’s gone. I should have known better, having been massively triggered by Forced Entertainment’s last offering – but back I went like some kind of lusty crack addict who thought things might be different this time.

The clowns on stage (they are literally clowns, I’m not being rude by referring to them in a derogatory manner as being clown-like, they are literally dressed as clowns) are in some sort of dispute. Their initial dust-up is actually quite amusing – like watching a couple of passing chihuahuas barking at each other, giving it all that.


But then why does this stretched-out self-repeating portrayal of a trade dispute need to go on for ninety minutes? Why? If it had been sixty minutes it may, potentially, just about have been bearable to watch. 

Can clowns aimlessly running around attacking each other with balloons and comedy horns be the basis of a ninety-minute long mime performance? Even if it can, why?



How many times can you repeat the same scene (or slight variations of it) for it to still remain funny? Or interesting?

The problem with Out Of Order is the same as with its predecessor show: as an audience member, once you lose your shit, it’s over – and there is no going back. You’re absolutely fucked if you reach the inflexion point: the show goes from just getting on your nerves and winding you up a bit to inducing a full-on Incredible Hulk-like psychological prolapse. 



An anger swells up, in the strict confines of the stalls there is no viable outlet for this appalling rage. The show is about clown violence: towards the end of it, I just wanted to get up there, on stage, give every fucker a good hiding, then dive into the audience and batter a few of the giggling fuckers who were also winding me up. And if the police had turned up that would’ve wound me up and I would’ve thrown a few chairs and balloons at them too.

Beyond the magical Tipping Point of Incandescent Fury, there is no hope. They could have knocked out the most amazing artistry in the last ten minutes and I still would’ve been like: “fuck off you pricks”.

The face of Why?


It’s revenge rage: when you feel abuse has gone too far, perhaps when someone calls you names again and again and again and again and again.

But here they repeated elements of the same scene on stage again and again and again and again. And again. They did it enough times for it to be an insult.

An old question needs resurrecting: why try to impress someone by deliberately boring them with repetition? Forced Entertainment seem to be theatre’s equivalent of tripping someone up because you fancy them.


Out Of Order is a properly baffling discharge of slapstick tomfoolery. It feels like a telling-off: the audience is being punished for some sort of crime – failure to stop at the scene of an interpretation.

No theatrical performance should leave you feeling intellectually abused, no one can ever, ever win my love and admiration by hurting me with their art; I simply won’t stand for it.







Performance aspect Comments Score
Visual pleasure A few chairs, a wallpapering trestle, 6 clowns running around, plus a few balloons and some comedy horns. Became too easy to lose attention. 1
Auditory pleasure Val Martinez: “Someone’s Gonna Cry”, on loop + about 30 minutes of silence + a bit of Strauss, on loop = 90 mins. 1
Architecture & Theme Would make a brilliant 15-minute show at a kid’s birthday party – the rest of the 90 minutes feels like nothing more than elongated repetition with a few extended periods of docile nothingness. 0
Artistic delivery Can’t fault the physical performance, all six clowns kept it going for 90 mins straight. 4
Overall impact The pain is too much to bear. Requires the immediate resignation of the board of trustees, or someone, just anyone, it’s too much. Definitely an inside job from professional theatre world: looked like great fun to be performing in, pretty much unbearable to watch though. 0
Final Score: 1.2


Scoring Scheme

0 Detrimental – This aspect of the performance was so bad that it made the overall experience worse
1 Weak – This aspect of the performance was poor
2 Adequate – This aspect of the performance was perfectly acceptable, though nothing special
3 Good – This aspect of the performance was above average, it pleased in some way
4 Excellent – This aspect of the performance was much better than normal, it was impressive
5 Awe-inspiring – This aspect of the performance was exceptional, new boundaries were pushed.


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