It is difficult to discuss Happystorm Theatre’s Borderline Vultures without risking spoiling the experience for potential audiences. It can be said though, that ‘experience’ is certainly a more suitable description for this piece than ‘show’, which follows the success of The Crypt Project staged in the bowels of The Lowry earlier this year. It is safe to say that audiences should expect encounters, interactions and to spend their evening at a secret Salford Quays location.
The piece is enigmatic, intriguing and occasionally bewildering. Each experience of Borderline Vultures will be different, and mine was sometimes stressful, sometimes funny, sometimes nerve wracking. The programme states that “everyone chooses their own adventure”; audience members who aren’t feeling particularly adventurous or decisive may be left frustrated.
With an admirable optimism, the piece relies heavily on its audience to be active and present within the imagined world for the work to function as a piece of theatre. If you’re feeling particularly curious and up for getting stuck in, then this is the night out for you.
Creating an immersive, alternate world is surely a mammoth task and special mention must go to the teams that have pulled off this feat of production and design. Performer Matthew Ganley is a joyful ball of energy, keeping up the momentum amongst the enthusiastic cast.
Borderline Vultures is a treat for the intrepid. The experience feels like being trapped inside the pages of Beckett’s Endgame, or else an episode of Salad Fingers. Happystorm Theatre are risk-taking, ambitious and a welcome addition to Manchester and Salford’s vibrant theatrical landscape. Long may they continue to grow.