33 (4 stars)

This article is from 2013


Musical take on 2010 copper mine incident by The Wardrobe Ensemble

Book-ending Tom Brennan's production is an eccentric appearance by Edison Pena on legendary US chat show The David Letterman Show. Pena is one of the 33 miners who survived a major cave-in for 69 days in the Copiapo copper mine, San Jose in 2010 and who became their mouthpiece. The Wardrobe Ensemble's musical multimedia play scrutinises the incident.

The ensemble's approach is refreshing - any hint of mawkish emotional manipulation is undercut by the kitsch spectre of Elvis in his 70s pomp (a game, oddly sexy Edith Woolley) who appears as a hallucination to wild-eyed Pena (James Newton) a life-long fan. Each of the men copes in his own way: some, like Pena, unravel; others, like defiant Ariel (Kerry Lovell) act out, particularly upon realising that letters from home have been censored by psychologists in order to 'protect' them.

The cast, some of whom play a gorgeous, shivery score, are relentless and their witty movement choreography plays with notions of survival instinct, press prurience and the corrosive effects of fame for its own sake: a surreal, touching triumph.

Zoo, 662 6892, Until Aug 17, 9.30pm £9 (£8)


  • 4 stars

33 tells the tale of the 33 men stuck half a mile under the ground, the journalists in the desert above them and the world that watched them from afar. Following their sell-out hit Riot The Wardrobe Ensemble use soulful stories, macho choreography and original music to mythologise the modern legend of men on the brink of…