Immersive theatre that makes politics simple
This article is from 2016.
Having taken over popular karaoke bar / night club The Electric Circus, Electric Eden invites the audience to take part in an event to celebrate the life of a local man, who dies in a fracas with security guards outside a local spa. Through the hard work of activists, this death has become a symbol of oppression by the wealthy, but his granddaughter Grace is unsure of the protest's value.
In a little under an hour, the problem is resolved, thanks to the meddling of the nasty capitalists who, in trying to buy her off, reveal her political convictions. The dancing interludes, which get the audience up on their feet, provide choreographic context to this simplistic plot, alongside spoken word addresses to the crowd. The intention is clear and polemical, but the script fails to add the personal dimension to the conflict, or delve deeply into the process of Grace's conversion.
It's a lively show, but fails to convince in either its political intentions or account for the various characters' importance to the story: one monologue talks about a woman's relationship to make-up, without connecting it to the drama or the political themes clearly. The conflict between an activist and a working class man is theoretical rather than a fully formed dialogue, and the promise of a nightclub atmosphere distracts from the thrust of Grace's personal journey.
Not Too Tame are searching for a way to bridge political activism with lively performance, to engage and educate, but Electric Eden falls between the two: the party atmosphere is forced, and prevents a sympathy for the characters, who are reduced to cyphers.
Pleasance Pop-up: The Club, Electric Circus, until 29 Aug, 3pm, £7.50–£10 (£6.50–£9).