Review: Drawing the Line
Review: Elegies for Angels, Punks and Raging Queens
Drawing the line takes place in a room that looks rather like a school gymnasium. Between that and the fact that the ‘line’ is literally represented by a thick piece of rope suspiciously like those we were made to climb as children and this show started by evoking some bad memories.
Thankfully, despite there being plenty of school style activities to take part in, including chalk drawing, building blocks and an interesting take on dodgeball, this was the last moment I felt that choking fear that anyone was going to make me climb anything.
Review: Crisis, What Crisis?
This is such a beautiful and moving piece of work celebrating the lives and commemorating the deaths of those who have been lost to AIDS. The beautiful, diverse and talented cast were a stunning ensemble and I would be hard pushed to single anyone out. Each delivered something a bit different from the others, and each contributed to the whole.
Review: The Swell Mob
If you were to sit down and devise a piece of immersive theatre design to exactly coincide with my life and obsessions, you couldn’t do much better than Crisis, What Crisis.
A political drama set around the vote of no confidence in the Callaghan government you are a group of Labour advisors working at a secret location to solve the labour (and Labour) disputes that are bedevilling the government and putting your wafer-thin majority (just the vote of the speaker in it) in danger of collapse.
Review: Like You Hate Me
Flabberghast Theatre have created a stunning world for The Swell Mob. The world of an 1840 den of iniquity, it is dark and colourful, bejewelled and cheap, murky and fascinating.
Review: Atomic 50: Time Travels in Tin
Like You Hate Me is a play full of raw honesty and emotion. The relationship between the two characters (the play is a two-hander) jumps dizzyingly between the past, present, and future of a soaring-then-failing love affair, as the highs of desire are steadily replaced with bitterness and regret and then acceptance and even nostalgia.
First of all, I should declare that I am a ‘Legend of the Forest’. This means that at various events throughout the year that Waltham Forest is the London Borough of Culture, I rock up in bright pink gear and help out. When I heard there was going to be an immersive experience as part of the festivities I was delighted, Then I found out it was for parents and children only (no adults allowed without an accompanying child) I was determined to volunteer to find out what Atomic 50 was all about.
What it’s all about is tin. Tin in it’s many forms. Making things with tin, making a case for tin as an environmental alternative to plastic, making children’s imagination run wild when it comes to all things tin.
Review: Dinner is Coming
Meeting in a pub near Guy’s Hospital, this drama takes you through the London Bridge area, where you will meet Sarah (Rebecca Ward) and Josh (Benedict Hudson). With them you will look into your missing past and theirs.
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.