Incendiary, Naomi Klein-inspired theatre that convincingly merges the personal and the political
This article is from 2015.
Rose can’t remember a huge portion of her early adult life. She doesn’t know whether to trust her bizarre, fragmented recollections of mental breakdown and of being as vulnerable and needy as a newborn. But when she’s encouraged by a lover to delve into the darker areas of her memory, she discovers horrifying evidence of psychological experimentation, linking her sickening experiences directly to the Iraq war, the 2008 financial crisis, and plenty more besides.
You’ve got to admire theatre company Dumbshow’s ambition. Transforming the ideas in Naomi Klein’s vast and incendiary tome The Shock Doctrine into a convincing piece of theatre is an overwhelming undertaking, but they’ve pulled it off magnificently – and succeeded in bringing a lot of emotion and humour into their pitch-black mix too.
Electric Dreams is a deliberately provocative show, but one whose shocking ideas percolate into your consciousness through believable character and palpable feeling. You can sometimes see the mechanics behind the show’s smooth surface, but despite the complexity and darkness of its themes, it feels like a tale of love, loss and hope, never a lecture. Michael Bryher’s direction paces things expertly, allowing Klein’s ideas to grow organically across the hour, and the four-strong cast’s performances are bold but naturalistic – especially Pia de Keyser’s fragile but determined Rose. This is urgent, necessary theatre, dealing deftly with explosive ideas, that dares to challenge some fundamental perspectives on our current world.
Pleasance Dome, 556 6550, until 30 Aug (not 17, 24), 3.50pm, £9–£11 (£8–£10).