Monday, 26 December 2011

Audience - review

Written by: Dombo (@DomOJFryer)

Where's Dom Gone?
Soho Theatre, London
Was Dom Fond?

Ontoerend Goed roughly translates as “feel estate”. What does this even mean? What it certainly doesn't mean, is “it's really easy to understand what I'm doing”. This theatre company has, in the past, experienced a lot of joy with their exploits, one of which include a strange date where you tell all your secrets – before they get revealed to people you've never met. But they did write to you a month later, which is lovely.

Being Dombo, having heard that this particular show split the critics right down the middle, I just had to go grab a slice of the pie. Was it going to be a delicious Lemon Meringue, or was it going to be a horrible, old Tesco Value Pork? I was yet to find out. However, if one thing is certain, you absolutely must go into this pie with an open mind.
Audience is an exploratory piece of theatre which looks to explore the role of the audience within the performance. Hmm, hefty stuff. I was incredibly up for this, as you'd imagine; I was all like “Yeah, audience interaction, bring it on.” And as I walked into the auditorium as one of the first audience members (keep this in mind), the first thing that struck me was a big cinema screen – was this going to be a repeat of my last review?! Fortunately for you, dear readers, it was not. We were talked through a quick and slightly patronising guide to theatre practice as the play began by one of the cast. We were then treated to a “warm up act”, which consisted of us being taught how to applaud (keep this in mind as well), followed by approximately 5 – 7 minutes of a man with slicked–back hair shouting at one female in the audience aggressively – all part of the show, but was this woman part of the cast? I will never know, I'm just not smart enough, but it wouldn't surprise me if she was, because I question the sanity of anyone to sit through a European telling you that you're generally rubbish for an extended period of time. Also, her apparent descent into grief seemed too contrived and fast – she was either placed by the cast, or potentially emotionally unstable.

Now, remember the things I told you to keep in mind? Well, they resurface brilliantly during the course of the production, greeted by much laughter. Without giving too much away, I, Dombo, was the star of the show for a few minutes, and I must admit that I bloody enjoyed it! In retrospect, I probably should have asked for a cut of the profits.
As a spectacle, and something new which you don't often see, this is a great production. However, in terms of setting out to achieve a controversial and ground-breaking piece of theatre, I fear that Ontoerend Goed are by no means successful. Aside from harassing of a female member of the audience who may or may not be part of the performance, the most ambitious part of this hour long performance was commenting on the colour of my t-shirt. And they got it wrong, they said it was pink, but I assure you, it was red. Red. Aside from leaving the auditorium confused as to the direction this piece was going, I still left thoroughly entertained. Audience is lacking in content and structure, but has the potential to go very, very far. I went to Soho for a beautiful Lemon Meringue; I left having instead tasted a pie with a lot of promise, but not quite there – a humble Key Lime.

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