Blog: Lucy Hutson

Getting her dad on to the stage wasn't so hard. Getting him to open up was harder, says the performance artist

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Hello. My name is Lucy Hutson and this is why I made a show called Bi-Curious George And Other Sidekicks with my dad.

Years ago, I was trying to get a bloke called Anthony Roberts from the Colchester Art Centre to programme a show I had called Britney Spears Custody Battle Vs Zeus In Swan Rape Shocker (I succeeded in the end), but he seemed more interested in a job I’d once had that my dad had got me.

My dad is a children’s entertainer. He goes by the name The Amazing Addrian: Professor of Punch & Judy.

The job was walking around the ferry he does his children’s shows on, dressed up as Curious George the monkey.

It actually wasn’t the first time it had been suggested that I should make a theatre show with my dad. I had resisted for a long time but in the end, well, you know, it wasn’t a bad idea and then along came one of those times when I had no idea what to make next. If you want to be a performer you need a show and I knew at least one venue that would put us on.

I knew my dad would be up for it so I started plotting to take him out of the children’s party and into the bright lights of small to medium live art venues and black box theatres. This was not the first time I’d turned to my family for material. Previously I’d filmed the female members of my family talking about what being women means to them for a live show I made about gender called If You Want Bigger Yorkshire Puddings You Need A Bigger Tin – and now it was my dad’s turn.

After all, my dad had got me to do all sorts of performance-based odd jobs for him over the years. Not that I’m complaining – I was always happy to be showing off with my dad (excusing a few very embarrassed teenage years, of course).

There were moments I regressed to a child, arguing with him as if my far too early bedtime depended on it

I think I would have been given even more opportunities if I’d learnt to ride the unicycle he bought me or mastered more juggling skills but my co-ordination was not up to it. But, back to the subject. After my dad agreed to make the show, it became apparent that my methods of performance-creating were not what he had expected.

I’m an autobiographical performance artist. I’m used to expressing how I feel about things in front of an audience. For my dad however, it doesn’t come so easily. Don’t get me wrong – he loves attention. He can hold court with the best of them but, when it comes to more private opinions… Well, they’re locked a bit further away. But that’s exactly what I wanted from him. The good stories are the ones that are hard to tell.

At times it was like getting blood from a stone and there were moments I regressed to a child, arguing with him as if my far too early bedtime depended on it.

In the end he did well and I can only hope he is as pleased with my attempts at the magic tricks and balloon modelling that we have in the show.

I’m very happy with the performance we made. We argue over the ethics of Punch & Judy and confess about the strain my mental health has had on our relationship. We come clean and we entertain.

It’s what we set out to do: mix the genres – live artist and children’s entertainers, father and daughter.

Bi-Curious George And Other Sidekicks is at Art B&B, Blackpool, 8 Nov 

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