Becki Crossley reviews Trash Salad at Nonsuch...
“Whatever you do, keep that light on me,” instructs Trash Salad, handing an audience member a small torch. It’s me. I am the audience member. And I’m concentrating so hard on being a human spotlight that we’re a minute into the next song when I realise - oh wow, Trash Salad has some pipes.
This comes as a surprise only because the rest of the show has been so wild - but “a surprise” is perhaps the best way to describe what’s happening in front of us. A ridiculous whirlwind of high energy and high hilarity.
Described as a “genre-bending burlesque adventure”, “clown opera” and “a sexual odyssey”, Trash Salad is an experience like I’ve never had before. Is it sexy? Is it insanity? Who knows, but it’s an absolute delight. With lip-sync, strip tease and that frankly incredible vocal performance, it’s the kind of show you want to recount every detail of to your friends… but also tell them nothing, and just get them to experience it all for themselves.
“I thought it was fucking funny” she tells us
Just five minutes into this “compost-heap romance” and the stage floor is absolute carnage, a mess of lettuce leaves and discarded costumes. And it stays that way for the whole show only adding to the absurdity, as Trash Salad writhes and gyrates on the floor to a backing video of blooming flowers interspersed with dogs humping pillows. “I thought it was fucking funny” she tells us, and she’s right.
Having sold out shows at the Edinburgh Fringe, Soho Theatre London and VAULT Festival, the audience tonight is sadly few - but having said that, I’ve never been to another show where I’ve felt how into it every single person in the room is. I can’t remember the last time I laughed so openly in a small space. It felt like a community event, an explosion of queer joy, longing and lettuce.
“My job is so dangerous!” she cries, snapping her bra strap against her arm. And you have to marvel - oh wow, this literal clownery unfolding before us is her job. Never before has the phrase “weird and wonderful” been so apt - it’s uniquely, exceptionally weird and heart-swimmingly wonderful.
I’m still not entirely sure how to accurately sum up Trash Salad’s show if someone asks me what I did with my Friday night. All I know is that next time she’s in town, I’ll be in the front row ready to hold the torch.
Rosa Garland starred in Trash Salad at Nonsuch on Friday, September 15, 2023.
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