Theatre On A Long Thin Wire
Manipulating audiences can be a highly interesting part of a performance. In this production, it is the whole performance; there is no performer and the whole show is the audience directed by a voice on a 'phone speaking into an audience member's ear.
The 'phone passes around several audience members but I end up taking most of the call as I was stood closest to the phone when it went off. The conceit is that the guy on the other end of the line is on his way to meet us but is painfully shy and we had to encourage him on.
It is not an inherently bad set up for a play; in fact it has lots of potential. However it was far too slow, with everyone just listening while people relay information; as it is only a small audience everyone should have a turn on the phone. There is so much more that could have been done in terms of actively involving everyone who was there.
Most of the dialogue is simply relayed verbatim by the audience member with the 'phone. The voice at the other end never really engages with particular audience members—it might as well be a recording at the other end.
The ending is quite good, but again kind of missed the mark. It was quite dark, but, as we didn't really engage with the character and also knew very little about him, there wasn't much empathy with him.
It was all rather predictable, which was annoying as the original idea is so good and could have led in all sorts of exciting and creative directions. There could definitely be lessons learnt from a master of audience manipulation like Red Bastard.
A great idea that rather misses the mark and doesn't achieve the dark ending it is looking for due to not engaging enough with the audience and making the most of the situation.
Reviewer: Seth Ewin