Rich Kids: A History of Shopping Malls in Tehran (4 stars)

This article is from 2019

Rich Kids: A History of Shopping Malls in Tehran

credit: Pete Dibdin

New tech-heavy show is a potent exploration of capitalism and culture

Javaad Alipoor and Kirsty Housley's explosive, remarkable piece of theatre bombards the senses, emulating the quick fix of technology and the relentless flurry of 24-hour news bulletins.

Taking as their theme the titular rich kids, progeny of revolutionary fathers, it seeks to address the empty pursuit of hedonism in place of a richness of mind and spirit. It also effectively interrogates the increasing obsolescence of technology, which scientists refer to as 'techno fossils'.

Alipoor and fellow performer Peyvand Sadeghian's theatrical TED talk is at once chilling and insightful, augmented by audience interaction through Instagram, Thom Buttery and Tom Newell's video projections, and Jess Bernberg's effectively eerie lighting.

As a counterpoint to the wealthy, entitled youth (represented here by two 19-year-olds and the Porsche they crashed after a champagne binge) they posit a return to culture, espousing Walter Benjamin and his assertion that where we sit globally can be seen symbolically through our shopping malls.

It's witty in places, yet horrifying and as Alipoor and Sadeghian turn the camera towards the audience, there's a real sense of culpability, along with the affirming shared experience of theatre.

Traverse Theatre, until 25 Aug (not 12, 19), times vary, £21 (£15.50).

Rich Kids: A History of Shopping Malls in Tehran

  • 4 stars

Javaad Alipoor's play about technology, entitlement and consumption, incorporating elements of Instagram to explore the growing divide between the rich and poor.