Would it even be a ChewBoy productions show without party hats? After the wonderful Tethered my expectations were high when I arrived at the Golden Goose Theatre for their latest show DJ Bazzer’s Year 6 Disco. I was welcomed with sweets, party hats, glow sticks and some noughties bangers, all designed to get me into the primary school disco mindset.
Written by Georgie Bailey, who has a track record of using the surreal and humorous to tell deceptively human stories, DJ Bazzer’s Year 6 Disco is a story of childhood ambition, unravelling dreams, guilt and rivalries. Can you ever be happy if you are always comparing yourself to others?
Expertly played by Jack Sunderland, DJ Bazzer is the resident DJ (and janitor) at his local primary school. He always wanted to be a DJ, even when he was a student at this very same primary school. Now in his mid-thirties, it would be fair to say, life hasn’t quite gone to plan. Sunderland fully commits to the role, shifting between dancing, DJing, chatting and ultimately opening up. He captures Bazzer’s guilt and quiet desperation. This is a man haunted by a tragic encounter on a rooftop in Magaluf, a moment that has trapped him in amber, unable to move forward and develop, a bit like his set list.
Chewboy productions like to use the skills of creatives from different backgrounds and specialities in their shows, and for this one they brought in DJ consultant Gaia Ahuja, who has Sunderland manning the decks/laptop like a semi-adequate pro. Music and sound is a crucial component of the show, and sound designer Chrissy R Williams does a skillful job bringing additional characters to life. While this is technically a solo show, the clever use of sound means Sunderland rarely feels alone on stage. It also makes the quiet moments all the more impactful. My one niggle was that there were key moments of revelation when I struggled to hear Sunderland (although to be fair, the chatting couple in the audience behind me were also a factor). An aspect of the sound design that really made me smile was how flawlessly it was executed throughout the show, but when DJ Bazzer was on the mic, doing his disco bit there’d be the occasional squeal of feedback. Given how in character it was for him, it had to be deliberate, right? I hope so, because it was such a wonderful little detail.
Director Mike Cottrell is all about the thoughtful little details, using them to create a vibrant production. The party props, the audience interaction, the use of space etc create an engaging and energetic whole. Because there is something frenetic about DJ Bazzer, which reinforces the sense that he is a man running from his demons. What will happen when they catch up with him?
The only way to find out is to go see the gloriously funny and thought-provoking DJ Bazzer’s Year 6 Disco which is running at the Golden Goose Theatre in Camberwell until Friday 17th September. To book tickets or find out more, you can go here: https://www.goldengoosetheatre.co.uk/dj-baz