How to Start a Riot (3 stars)

This article is from 2012

How to Start a Riot

Nifty political piece that fizzes with questions and ideas

Mark Duggan’s death at the hands of the police sparked last summer’s riots: four days of violent disorder and looting all over England. But, as Worklight Theatre point out, sparks don’t catch without fuel and flames don’t spread without fanning.

This nifty little scruffball of a show doesn’t really detail that social context and it sometimes looks a little dazed, but there’s enough delicate probing at the established narrative to get you thinking.

David Cameron’s ‘mindless violence’ soundbite is interrogated, with patterns ruling out the requisite randomness for mindlessness, and different flashpoints are shown to have different targets: the police, the wealthy, faceless high-street brands.

Michael Woodman, performing alongside Joe Sellman-Leava and Callum Elliot-Archer, has clearly had his worldview turned around by recent events and the soft-spoken 23 year-old has started to question the state’s benevolence and perspicacity. The real beauty of How to Start a Riot is watching that embryonic thought process unfurl itself: a young brain starting to fizz with questions and inceptive ideas.

theSpace @Surgeon’s Hall, 0845 508 8515, until 26 Aug, 7.05pm, £7 (£5).

How to Start a Riot

  • 3 stars

How many riots occurred in Tottenham in August 2011? Who was arrested for the crime of rioting? What does COBRA really stand for? If the actions are 'mindless', what's in the mind? Three performers use text, torchlight and physical theatre to unpick the presumed causes of civil unrest. Based on the work of leading crowd…

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