Choose Your Own Documentary by Nathan Penlington
Funny and nostalgic interactive show based on cult 80s books
This article is from 2013.
The Choose Your Own Adventure books were a publishing phenomenon, offering re-readable stories with multiple outcomes and potential death or glory at every page-turn. Writer and performer Nathan Penlington hits on a rich vein of pre-internet nostalgia in this interactive show about his CYOA obsession and there’s a childlike thrill to voting on the course of his story using your personal remote control. But this is not improv; every possible story-route involves video clips and sound cues, and much like in the books there is a ‘best route’ that an audience can take, while some decisions can lead to whole story strands being cut off abruptly. That also results in the interactive element of the show being noticeably lessened in the second half, giving the feeling that Penlington hasn’t fully integrated the show’s form with his storytelling intentions.
Choose Your Own Documentary is best entered without knowing specifics, after a very funny context-setting introduction things go in a direction that is at once more substantial and engaging; Penlington takes us on an adventure that is personal and gently moving.
Gilded Balloon Teviot, 622 6552, until 26 Aug (not 14), 1.30pm, £9-£11 (£8-£9).