Buzzing, off kilter guitars and pounding tribal drumming can provide the perfect psychic opening for experimental dance, dialogue and performance art. Unfortunately, Oxford University Experimental Theatre Company and Ruskin School of Art not only fail to provide a decent representation of punk-rock but also anything approaching enjoyable theatre.
A sensory overload without exhilaration, Raz-Mataz is truly a grotesque mess of thespian excess with neither substance nor charm.
Not helped by the fact that there is literally no space for the audience in some kind of kinky anti-promenade performance, the first 20 minutes hold the actors indistinguishable from the drunken midnight audience as uncomfortable silence is interrupted only by meaningless costume changes and excessive use of a smoke machine.
From this non-event emerges a libretto that is entirely devoid of value: linguistically, sonically, rhythmically, surrealist, bizarre or dramatic and accompanied by movements equally devoid of coordination or choreography. This then escalates to an explosion of drums and guitars which, although looking the part, fails to appreciate that experimental music is not just a matter of not playing high-octane rock. Later excursions into the flailing of fakeblood and confetti do little to relieve the excruciation.
To call Raz-Mataz pretentious would be to say it was pretending to be something, and it lacks the guile for even that.