Viewless (3 stars)

This article is from 2011


Paranoid Orwellian bureaucracy has comically sinister effect

A paranoid story of Orwellian bureaucracy played for comically sinister effect, this short piece feels unfinished. We’re introduced to two officers from the Witness Protection Programme, going about their daily business in a warehouse; the boredom, the filing, the hiding out in suitcases.

From there we’re led into the experience of one man taken in under Witness Protection, bamboozled by the increasingly surreal requests of various departments: here the play takes a deliberate Lewis Carroll turn, as dogs, magpies and hunchbacks line up to parrot rules and regulations.

Viewless has some good points to make about the way official systems are programmed to operate with apparent disregard for individuals, and what this can do to lives. It’s devised and directed with ingenuity; there are some great uses of film and movement, and it’s really boosted by three excellent performances by the cast: Robbie Jack and Finn Den Hertog as a variety of Witness Protection Officers are especially enjoyable. However, at times it’s overwritten into melodrama, and there’s a sense that there’s no research grounding the piece or connecting it to reality, meaning that it doesn’t pack quite the political punch it thinks it does.

Hill Street Theatre, 226 6522, until 29 Aug, 6.30pm, £9 (£7).


  • 3 stars

Thank you for choosing to stay with the Witness Protection Programme and welcome to your new home. Every effort has been made to ensure your stay is safe and comfortable. Linen can be found at the top of the stairs. We do ask guests to adhere to the following rules: Please destroy anything with your (real) name on it.