Review: Babaloose

Credit: Glasgow Guardian / Isabelle Hunt-Deol

Laura Delmage
Writer

Babaloose! Babaloose! Can you do the fandango? The answer is yes, you can do the fandango; you can also perform poetry, scream, dance, sing – anything. Anything besides hate speech, that is.

Babaloose is a bi-monthly creative platform devoid of judgement, wherein the audience are the main attraction – so it’s free! You, the audience, are invited to experiment beyond the bounds of the traditional. Anyone is welcome to attend, although the crowd generally consists of quirky art students. The boundary between audience and performer is eradicated, and the result? A feeling of liberation. There emerges a tangible sense of togetherness from the invigorating combination of anxiety and excitement in the room, as each audience member is endowed with the potential to be “up next”.

During the most recent Babaloose however, the anxiety proved momentarily overwhelming. Five minutes of intermittent silence and uncomfortable shuffling followed the hosts’ hopeful suggestion that we “polish the forks in our silver tongues.” This being said, after a comedic performance and a whimsical poetic tale, the tension in the room deflated and the acts kept on coming, some even went back for more; intoxicated by the freedom of the event. Or perhaps some had just taken the BYOB invitation more seriously than others.

Babaloose’s own notion of itself as a platform without judgement is perhaps one that opens itself up to speculation. Theoretically, it must be wonderful for people to enter a space in which they can belt out their favourite shower song in public without receiving scrutinising sniggers and jibes. In truth, however, even in said space it is difficult to detach yourself from formulating an opinion. Especially when the stimulus is as demanding as a young woman with a sheet over her head, beating her chest in silence. This being said, the support exhibited by the audience for each act seemed genuine and certainly outwardly respected the wish to provide a judgement free zone. Each performer is one of the audience’s peers, and therefore admiration prevailed while mockery or scrutiny were left at the doors.

The beauty of the Babaloose’s “elevation of the audience” philosophy is that each evening is different. You enter unassuming but confident – at least in the knowledge that you have no idea what you’re about to witness. It is a refreshing and unique experience. One thing you can expect, however, is to be sat in a large warehouse devoid of central heating for over an hour. So if you do attend, be sure to wrap up warm!

Babaloose is a wonderful platform for aspiring writers and performers to showcase their work in a supportive and casual environment. It offers amateurs an opportunity to remove themselves from their comfort zone and engage in an artistic activity. In this dark age of austerity, the arts have been regularly branded an unnecessary expense. Unifying events such as these wherein individuals are encouraged to explore and exhibit their creativity to others at no cost are hard to come-by and should not be overlooked. Babaloose allows the individual to become part of a collective, while also exploring their personal creative agency.

It’s clear that the main objective to promote the power of the audience as a creative, supportive community is fulfilled with each event they hold. An evening spent at Babaloose is not an evening wasted, and it certainly seemed to leave the attendees-cum-performers wanting more.