Atrium (3 stars)

This article is from 2010


Theatre interrupted

Last year Belt Up caused a stir by blindfolding the audience during The Trial. Even without blindfolds there is a great deal of trust placed in a theatre company: to guide the audience clearly (and safely) to an as-yet unknown destination. When standard narrative structures are abandoned and the destination is confusion, it gets more complicated.

The set up is the rooms of an eccentric, possible old, possibly dying man recounting his memoirs to a ghostwriter, a situation ripe with notions of truth, fiction, memory and reality. Then follows a series of almost-vignettes, some involving the audience, some musical, many comical. Surreal props and dialogue litter the performance, constantly undermining attempts at interpretation. The host, Malcolm Kinnear, and his household are alternately character and narrator and it’s never certain what is really real, real within the play or imagined. The pre-press would have us believe that the whole audience is a figment.

Belt Up excels at experiential theatre and succeeds in its goal of befuddling and amusing. The answer to larger questions like ‘why?’ are left up to the imagination.

C Soco, 0845 260 1234, until 29 Aug (not 26, 28), 11pm, £8.50–£10.50 (£7.50–£9.50).

Belt Up's 'Atrium'

  • 3 stars

Viciously dark and brutally gruesome comedy, in which the line between reality and surreality fizzles out in front of your eyes. A new play from the 'inventiveness and comic brilliance' ( of James Wilkes ('The Tartuffe'). This show takes place as part of Belt Up's ambitious programme for The House Above…