A Series of Increasingly Impossible Acts
Improvised knockabout show
This article is from 2014.
It’s a tricky, if not impossible business to firmly review a devised show; the essence of the performance comes from having an unstable quality, a changing bill of fare from night to night.
The opening of this show from the Lyric Hammersmith’s Secret Theatre Company sees the cast line-up on stage and one has their name chosen from a hat to be the evening’s protagonist. Working around the protagonist, the cast work their way through a series of workshop pieces; wrestling another cast member to the ground and attempting to remove their shoe, reciting poetry, taking part in a dance routine, plunging their hands into a bucket of ice.
While the performers clearly enjoy the random nature of these tasks, the energy and enthusiasm isn’t always transmitted to the paying customers; words are written on the protagonist’s body, but are never readable. Asides are made that make the cast roar with laughter, but are inaudible to others. And as the tasks repeat without making any point, it feels like what’s being presented is simply a workshop, an energetic bonding exercise in which the audience participation is limited to polite indulgence.
Northern Stage at Kings Hall, 0131 477 6630, Until Aug 17 (not 7, 14) £11.