Musings on a self-portrait

By Adam Tonking

“Bricolage,” according to writer, director, and performer Mark J. Wilson, “is the process of bringing together diverse fragments to make up a larger story,’ and in his show Homage To Bricolage he takes diverse experiences from his life story and through music, poetry, and projections, reflects on their greater implications for society at large.

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Performed as a kind of stream-of-consciousness poetry, punctuated with almost entirely original pop songs, Wilson takes us on a journey with him through his experiences of identity; in relationships, in gender, in sexuality, in online society; using cultural touchstones like dating apps, ordering takeaway, Dawson’s Creek… These almost Beat-esque poetical rants were hypnotic and emotionally delivered, frequently underscored by trance-like music and accompanied by well-chosen projections, from family photos to creepy animation. His self-composed songs did sound beautiful, although the pop sensibility of his vocal treatment made it difficult to understand the lyrics at times, and it was a shame to miss the meaning of what are clearly very personal stories.

And it was very personal. Wilson refers to this show as “his signature work,” and indeed you can see in every moment how much it means to him, how much of himself is in each piece he delivers, and his commitment is staggering. All these diverse elements, while not always successful individually, come together to form the larger story of Mark J Wilson, and bricolage is the perfect term for it.

Mark J Wilson’s Homage To Bricolage was performed at The Butterfly Club from 11 – 14 May 2017.