So it was with some trepidation I ran to Northern Stage after a very fraught day and early evening. Managing to get to the theatre with seconds to spare, I collected my ticket and was promptly ushered around a maze of never seen before areas of the theatre, asked personal and pertinent questions, and then presented with a number of ‘chips’ (the type used in gambling) that would allow me entry to the various venues and performances. This technique of making the audience unsure of themselves at the start works because the themes of the evening are followed through in each of the plays I saw, there are another two I have yet to see. Although I feel that unless I play the game correctly and answer the correct questions, I may never get the opportunity? That’s how the chips are stacked against us!
Gary Kitching has devised and performs Me and Mr C an absurdist piece that requires audience participation, absurd because the audience have to write part of the script, you get to act too. A play for adults, but a very dark and disturbing play, that had overtones of “Comedians” by Trevor Griffiths, the twist of this piece is that it is mostly improvised on the spot, and you get to choose if it has a happy or sad ending. A wonderful piece that works because of the honesty of the performance, heart-breaking at times but also very funny for all the wrong reasons.
The second piece I was ‘allowed’ to see was Eggbeaters and Oysters performed and devised by Abigail Moffat, playing multiple characters who are all engaged in the world of synchronised swimming. The tragedy of the final moments of a character only discussed by ‘the coach’ is wonderfully realised. Wonderful staging in a piece that either needs cutting a tad, or developing further, either way a wonderful performance.
The two other plays featured in the evening are What Would Judas Do? and A Prayer. So, the two pieces I saw, what linked them? The randomness of life, the unfairness of the world, the gambles we take each and every day of our lives. I urge you to take a gamble yourself and see The Theatre Brothel.