Seeing that You Once Said Yes - a hit at last year’s Edinburgh now transplanted to London thanks to LIFT - has been compared to You Me Bum Bum Train, I had more than an inkling of what to expect.
So, armed with an orange backpack and light rain coat I set off, as instructed, from the Roundhouse in Camden out onto the surrounding streets. I looked nervously at every passer-by, expecting them to grab me by the arm and whisk me down a rabbit hole.
But nothing happened. I kept walking, and walking, until I finally reached Camden High Street (a good ten minute stroll) and the mobile with which I had been supplied buzzed in my pocket. “Theo? You’ve gone too far – we’ve missed you. Can you come back to the start?”
So, fourth wall suitably shattered I trudged back up Chalk Farm road until my adventure finally began when I was summoned into a nearby café to be asked if I would approve a new strip club.
What followed was a series of encounters (orchestrated by Morgan Lloyd Malcolm and Katie Lyons) that ranged from the alarmingly personal to the oddly underwhelming. A quiet cup of tea by the canal revealed little but a conversation with a street hustler regarding my taste in music completely threw me.
Much like Bum Bum Train your experience is dependent on your own level of performance, but this time you’re acting in public. Strangely though, rather than raising awareness of the proximity of life and art, by taking the action out to the streets You Once Said Yes somehow serves to reinforce the difference.
It’s an undoubtedly fun way to spend 90 minutes, and the musical finale is skilfully executed. But it all feels a little too production line, and apart from that terrible blunder at the beginning, I never really felt that my decisions made enough of an impact on the outcome. But that being said, it certainly provides a lesson that our streets do indeed bristle with possibility for those brave flâneurs who say yes.
- Theo Bosanquet