On occasion of their 10th birthday, Moon Wiring Club boots up the PS2/time machine to revisit key ideas and themes of the series so far; gathering the ghosts for an eldritch dramaturgy of anachronistic hip hop and ether dream atmospheres inspired by subversive, experimental ‘70s theatre, all taking the form of a good ol’ Panto (surreal popular comedies/tragedies beloved of olde england) held at The Clinksell PlayHouse.
You might have guessed already, but Exit Pantomime Control sounds little like any panto that anyone outside of Clinksell (perhaps Burnley, too) has ever seen or heard. Written by Mr Paris Green and Dr Lettow-Vorbeck in the Curtain Draped Studio, 1896-1976, it unfurls a frayed and abstract narrative helmed in loping hip hop loops, which are practically the only thing nailed down on its weightless stage where voices and melodies bob and drift according to MWC’s cryptic direction.
The Motley Supplement kicks the evening off with everything in ‘easy listening’ mode, establishing a somnambulant pace and smoky atmosphere that perfuses the whole play, from what sounds like a lo-fi take on Arpanet’s percolated chorales sung by the Swingle Singers in Temporarily Engaged, to a frosting of steampunk-like FX in the eerie set design of Marvellous King Nonsense.
By this point you’ve probably imagined outlandish outfits and wigs for the intermittent characters, and, after a short intermission for the ghosts to take a leak, the play recommences with the propulsive momentum of Harlequin Escapes Audience, changing scene to a medieval mock-up of harpsichords and crows in 7 O’Clock In The Park, and dialling up the tension with a flurry of dancing Ghosts All Around, and leaving the play perfectly unresolved with the decaying curtain drop of Unsurpassed Novelties.
Beyond the mind of lucky Ian Hodgson, music like this doesn’t really exist, but thanks to his precious imagination we have some glimpse of a beautifully stubborn world where the usual rules don’t apply and anything can happen, provided it’s pretty weird and leaves you feeling strange; always a recommended experience!