Review: Dinner is Coming
Review: Dismantle This Room
Immersive Dinner theatre can be hit and miss. Sometimes great fun, sometimes a disaster. Regular readers will remember I had considerable issues with the staging, content and overall design of a previous Vaults production Divine Proportions.
So it was with a little trepidation that I approached Dinner is Coming. I worried that there would not be enough immersive elements surrounding the food and drink to make it a worthy night out. I needn’t have.
Dismantle This Room is – in essence – an escape room. You solve puzzles and make decisions as you go through to get through a series of rooms built onto the stage at the Royal Court. However, there is a strong element of self-examination and social justice woven into the experience throughout that give this an added edge.
Review: XNN Systems Immersive Corporate Career Development Simulator
Rooms confronts you with an interesting question: What is theatre? Where does the live experience begin and end? It has been described as theatre without actors but that's not strictly true. It is theatre without live actors?
Ultimately, This is a rather lovely self-actualisation seminar. The group bonds through exercises to improve vocal expression, self representation and physical comfort and expression. You come in shuffling and giggling nervously, you leave having – if consented – hugged and even sniffed total strangers.
Review: The Sensemaker and Anchor
Was this timely? Was it necessary? Was it important? These are the questions I’m contemplating after watching this play.
It was moving certainly. Thought-provoking for sure. It opened up a different part of our modern conversation about abuse, victims and consent. About predators and perpetrators. About humans and monsters.
This double-bill of dance pieces both star an impressive and athletic Elsa Couvreur – often centre stage without even music.
The Sensemaker is the tale of a woman’s struggle with a Kafka-esque bureaucracy. This play is in part commentary on the arbitrary nature of dealing with faceless machines, telephones and surveillance; part tale on the nature of the hoops we are increasingly forced to jump through as power dynamics in so many areas of our lives widen.
Good fringe theatre goes one of two ways. Either it’s so out there that it shocks you, or it’s small, personal, and deeply touching. In Feel, the latter approach is delivered in spades.
Feel is the story of two couples: one a seemingly uncomplicated meeting over the years while waiting for delayed trains; the other a failed attempt at a one night stand that lingers into a relationship.
Equus is a breathtaking, startling, and gripping play delivered brilliantly by a compelling cast.
Introduced to a tableau of boy and horse by world-weary psychiatrist Martin Dysart (Zubin Varla), from the off, I was struck by the beautiful physicality of Ira Mandela Siobhan as Nugget. His movement – not quite dance, not quite not-dance embodied the pride, beauty and power we associate with horses.
Review: The American Clock
This one woman (and two backing musicians) show is a tour de force. The story may be old as time but the modern twist of basically turning it into a concept album breathes new life into this ‘woman scorned’ tale. Katrina Quinn commands the stage and respect as Medea – a woman at first fulfilling the duties of her sex, but later given to violent revenge.
Review: Counting Sheep
The American Clock is a lavish production of a confusing and disjointed play. It reminded me of nothing so much as a stage version of The Big Short. Half drama, half documentary, fully fascinating but largely for the glimpses of the real story of the crash and less for any sense of being lost in the lives on stage.
I am blown away.
Rarely does taking part in a piece of theatre speak so directly to the core of my being, but Counting Sheep is one of the most exciting, moving and provoking pieces of theatre I have ever seen.
Set in Ukraine around the 2014 revolution we are introduced to the action by Mark – a Canadian of Ukrainian heritage who is visiting the country as a travelling musician. He gets swept up in the revolution and through him so too does the audience.
Review: The Greatest Snowman
Clamour is an odd experience – more art installation than theatre but promoted as the latter. It was more interactive than it was immersive, and it wasn’t very interactive – not least because the tech it relied on simply wasn’t up to it.
Review: Divine Proportions
The Greatest Snowman is enormous – if slightly confusing – fun.
Played pretty much as a straight up pantomime, it come across as charmingly childlike and simple. The storyline is not taxing, and the immersive element was less prominent than in recent production by the same team Journey to the Underworld.
Divine Proportions promises much and almost – almost – delivers.
The party atmosphere is apparent from the beginning. Audience members are encouraged to dress decadently and buy further glitter on arrival.
Sketching has all the great hallmarks of a James Graham play. There are a lot of characters, and their stories interweave frenetically. Music is used – sparingly but to high dramatic effect. There is a little bit of everything for everyone. What you get out of a James Graham play often depends on what you take into it. My meditative and melancholic mood found perfect reflection in the stories of the people of the city of London, but those in a more celebratory frame of mind will find plenty to enjoy too.