Anyway, the programme focusses on a bunch of oddballs and misfits (the same group every episode) who watch a big black guy with a power tool known as Green Mile breaking his way into a storage unit. Once the door has been prized open, everyone gasps like they're peering into an Egyptian tomb lined with gold. None of them are allowed to actually enter the storage unit and have a good root around, but all of them seem willing to have a bash at bidding on the contents.
An auctioneer makes all sorts of weird noises in the process of selling the unit to the highest bidder. Many of the noises he makes have no sentient value, but they make him seem incredible charismatic, like he's performing a rare phonetics-based work by the composer Berio. The units sell from between 500 and 50,000 dollars.
The bidders all hate each other. Passionately so. There's a white trash married couple called Brandon and Lori who we're obviously meant to support, and, surprise surprise, every time they end up bidding on a unit, they find something astonishingly valuable lurking under a piece of tarpaulin. In one episode they found a rocket, and in another, a sports car worth $100k. It's like an episode of Flog It on speed!
There are baddies as well; a funny bloke called Papa Bear, and a pair of brothers, who always get their comeuppance. In one episode they paid $45,000 for a set of boxes filled with plastic wrist bands.
The rest of the bidders don't seem to have any money, but can always be relied on to make the right noises. The black Mama sucks her teeth a lot, and the little Japanese girl (who the auctioneer actually calls "Hello Kitty") laughs with her hand covering her face.
It is, of course, an absolute fiction. On one occasion they ended up at a sea port, bidding on cargo units. For extra drama one was opened up, and caused much consternation because it was covered in rats. There was a lot of screaming and Hello Kitty almost passed out but no one seemed to notice that the rats had done no damage to the furniture in the cargo unit and were all looking incredibly healthy for a group of animals who'd had no food during a journey from China. More comically, the rats were all beautiful fancy rats in pretty colours; the sorts of rat you'd only ever be able to buy in a pet shop!
Furthermore; no one ever seems to question why they're not allowed to go into the units they're bidding on. It is the most surreal game show I've ever witnessed, but it's compulsive viewing.
Speaking of compulsive viewing, I've just returned from twenty doors down down the road at Jackson's Lane Theatre. I tend to forget that I share brickwork with an actual theatre and am ashamed to say that it's the first show I've seen there since living in the neighbourhood! How tragic is that?
What definitely wasn't tragic was the show I saw there tonight, Midnight Circus, which was a remarkable evening of death-defying circus activity. The whole evening was brought together by atmospheric lighting and thumping, pumping music; a blend of electronica performed live by Dave Kemp on an Eigenharp, and prerecorded rock and dance tunes mixed by Kemp as the performers did their extraordinary thing.
Highlights of the evening must include a highly erotic pas de deux performed on silks high above the audience by two almost naked Adonisis (or more accurately, one Venus and one Adonis!), and a finale which involved a shed load of fire. These people were literally risking their lives for our enjoyment. Hats off to them!
The show was the full sensual experience with cast members, each more attractive than the one before, hanging and spinning from ropes and nets by seemingly every part of their bodies, accompanied by extraordinary lighting effects which made them appear to fly or float like curious glowing creatures in the depths of an ocean.
So, go on, get yourself up to my neighbourhood to see a really very decent show, and if you're up here, come have a cup of tea with me first.