Venue: Underground Crypt beneath St Philip with St Stephen Church Where: Salford
Happystorm theatre present The Crypt Project; a new production based on the true story of addiction in its many formats. Stripped back to such a basic description does not do it justice but this is a premise of the piece and the subject is key to the structure.
The Crypt Project does not go for the obvious angle and the audience are left to figure out some of the addictions for themselves.Without glamorising or dramatising addiction, each character is subtly brought to life before the audience who are broken in to groups and lead thought the tunnels of the crypt by a guide, arriving in various hollows and voids under the church where we meet a new character; passing other guided groups along the way. The small groups watch each performer in a fish bowl kind of way; looking in while they move through their lives in a seemingly ordinary way.
The subtly performed evocative material is further enhanced by the unique surroundings which allow for an intimate experience coming at you from numerous angles. The hollows of the crypt are wonderfully lit, well enough to see the action but also reflect the serious and sombre nature of the material. Audience participation is not the focus here although challenges are laid out for individuals to take should they wish to do so.
It does not preach ort judge, it does not follow typical stereotypes but what The Crypt Project does is tell the stories of people who can be marginalised and sidelined by those in authority or with influence. Brilliantly performed and fantastically produced and directed; long may projects such as this thrive and continue to off audiences diverse and alternative forms of theatre-going.