You Me Bum Bum Train
Created by Kate Bond and Morgan Lloyd
barbicanbite10 and CREATE10
LEB Building, Bethnal Green
The Bum Bum train has been running in different manifestations since 2004 but it offers entirely new material each time it is revived. It is an entertainment that has the audience at its heart and that audience is just you.
Once you have shed bags, emptied pockets of anything that might fall out and are comfortably ensconced in a wheel chair you are ready to begin. It is a bit of a false start for no sooner have you set of on your journey than you meet a flight of stairs and your carer asks you to dismount and go down them to where another chair and chair-pusher are waiting. If you can't manage stairs forget it, this is a show for the mobile and there is some crawling and climbing to do. Nothing demanding, but you can't back out. Once you've started you must see this through to the end and I am sure it is an experience you won't regret.
Whether and how much you enjoy it is very much up to you and the kind of person you are. For some it will be a high octane ego trip; if you think of yourself as very, very shy you may be surprised at what it brings out in you and you will surely find in fun to be in a succession of other people's shoes.
Whether its succesion of experiences fulfill your dreams or sometimes feel like nightmares will be entirely up to you. It would be very easy to tell you exactly what does happen but that would spoil the essential element of surprise and urgency that make the whole thing work.
There are some patchy bits which could be better thought out but almost all is skilfully performed and it has been carefully created by more than 100 performers and a huge team of makers and designers who have converted rooms in this former Electricity Board Offices into some amazingly real environments.
If you do get into trouble the cast will find a tactful way to rescue you and get you on into the next for with another audience waiting in his or her chair to follow you there can be no hold-ups for this is a conveyor belt of a show and, come to think of it, how many devices or situations are there where you see a conveyor belt in action? It is something these designers and directors have certainly thought about.
I absolutely loved this show, and so did all the other participants to whom I spoke afterwards. It doesn't really give itself enough time for the participant to learn anything significant from his brief experiences - unless of course they have never tried to understand someone else's life on the other side of the tracks, it is essentially a game and one that offers stimulus and challenge but don't worry, even if you do find yourself out of your depth this team won't let you drown.
It is almost solidly sold out and you can no longer book on line so if you can't steal a ticket you may have to wait until the Bum Bum Train is next in operation and get up at the front of the queue if you are going to get your own forty minutes worth of fantasy life.
Runs until 24th July 2010
Reviewer: Howard Loxton