Bloody Mess

Created 2004

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A strobe light flickers, pointed at the ground. A pair of clowns in smeared make-up start an ugly fight that threatens to take over the stage.

A delinquent cheerleader dances and yells. A woman weeps in a fit of operatic grief then stops, changes costume and starts again. The strains of Deep Purple or maybe Black Sabbath blast from the PA only to be replaced by the Bach Cello Suites. A bloke starts to tell the history of the world from the Big Bang onwards but is quickly interrupted. A sound check. An interview. A seductive monologue. Rock-gig roadies creep across the stage – bringing disco lights, new speakers and a microphone that no one really wants. A woman in a gorilla suit chucks popcorn at anything that moves like a demented refugee from pantomime. A dance is performed by two men sporting only homemade tin foil stars. A beautiful silence is staged.

Forced Entertainment’s Bloody Mess defies description and categorisation. Marking the culmination of their twenty years’ work in theatre it is an epic for ten performers where disconnected characters, stories and performances collide. As disaster beckons and the ‘show’ crashes into energetic chaos Bloody Mess succeeds in interweaving its disparate elements to make a whole that is intelligent, darkly comic and unexpectedly poignant.

Bloody Mess is Forced Entertainment at its best – uncompromising political Pop Art, ironic physically demanding, camp trash, visual spectacle that tries to describe the contemporary world in all of its beauty, horror and complexity.

Genuine audience members only. No drunks. No timewasters.


"A get-down-and-get- dirty, thrilling, horrible, fantastic, cathartic, wet and sticky two hours."
Total Theatre
"A wonderfully playful theatrical game on the nature of illusion, narrative and laughter... It is ridiculously good.****"
The Guardian
"Uncompromising, thought-provoking and gloriously silly - this is sheer theatrical perfection."
The Stage
"British anarchism at its best."
Die Presse


Conceived and devised by the company

Performers Robin Arthur, Davis Freeman, Wendy Houstoun, Jerry Killick, Richard Lowdon, Claire Marshall, Cathy Naden, Terry O’Connor, Bruno Roubicek, John Rowley
Direction Tim Etchells
Text Tim Etchells and the company
Design Richard Lowdon
Lighting Design Nigel Edwards

Bloody Mess is a Forced Entertainment production

Co-produced by Festival Theaterformen Hannover, KunstenfetvaildesArts Brussels, Rotterdamse Schouwburg Rotterdam, Les Spectacles Vivants – Centre Pompidou Paris)and Wiener Festwochen Vienna. Supported by LIFT London and Nuffield Theatre Lancaster. Work-in-progress performances were co-produced by SpielArt Festival Munich