by guest critic Serena Ramsey
As an audience member, I always love when the actors break the fourth wall I love to feel immersed in the world. Within the play. AI Love You not only immerses us in a world surrounded by Amazon Echoes, drones and hover boards, but gives the audience the chance to dictate the plays structural direction. The power is completely within the hands of the onlookers who are given the role of jury and critics in this snappy and deeply moving play.
by guest critic Zahid Fayyaz
From a successful run at Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Mat Ewins bring his well-received show to London’s VAULT festival. This is a series of daft but funny jokes, using faked videos and audience participation supported by a spine of an Indiana Jones-style adventure. The quest is to obtain a magical amulet to prevent the closure of his museum.
by guest critic Liam Rees
Grid Iron and the Traverse Theatre’s new co-production Jury Play is a play of two halves with rather mixed results. Based on Dr Jenny Scott’s research into jury members’ experiences and how to improve them, director Ben Harrison and writer, Dr Jenny Scott, have decided that the best way to bring these issues to life is to cast the audience as the jury in a fictional murder trial.
An actor stands on stage. They are handed a script they have never read before. A frank look at suicide, choice and learned behaviour unfolds after a menagerie of animal impressions.
An actor stands on stage. They are handed a script they have never read before. An hour of hilarious and revealing Mad Libs ensues.
An actor stands on stage. They are handed a script they have never read before. It’s a recipe that the actor must prepare whilst reflecting on the cultural importance and ritual of food.
An actor stands on stage. On the screen behind them, a script is projected they have never read before. Then there’s a live feed, a language lesson and a tender reflection on the meaning of home.
by guest critic Rebecca JS Nice
Pickled Image Theatre work with John Nicholson to produce and write Coulrophobia, which has been touring on and off for seven months. Coulrophobia – Two Clowns Trapped In A Cardboard World is performed by Dik Downey (company director) and Adam Blake. The tragic twosome pull out a series of cardboard puppets as they frolic about a set full, but not quite full enough, of cardboard boxes.
by guest critic Alistair Wilkinson
The spectators are cast as the TV studio audience; a flashing sign above our head encourages us to applaud. Unfortunately there isn’t much to celebrate in this production set around two-out-of date performers trying to re-launch their career. The initial impression of the set is one of excitement and exuberance, but Emily Bestow’s design leaves the stage cluttered and incredibly busy. The actors must awkwardly navigate their way through whilst juggling a quick costume change, and avoiding being hit by a colourful disc of some sort. It’s a shame you can’t see the band through this disorientating mess.
A self-described modern rep company, Merely Theatre is addressing Shakespeare’s gender problem with 50/50 casting. Five male/female pairs each learn a set of characters in two plays, then on the night it’s decided who will perform. The result is a focus on clear storytelling rather than unimportant details such as the appearance or gender if individual characters. It’s a great device, and partnered with simple staging and a pace that doesn’t hang about, artistic director Scott Ellis has created a distinctive style of performance honouring the historical aesthetics of travelling players, though there’s a lack of nuance dissatisfying to modern audiences.