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Blackout (Lancaster)

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Venue: The Dukes
Where: Lancaster

The chance to have a look around the wardrobe department or the Green Room of a theatre is one of the main draws of a new experimental piece by The Alligator Club.

Anyone attending Blackout can expect lots of energy from the six actors who take on the roles of thwarted luvvies and their oppressors at some distant point in the future when theatre is a thing of the past. The audience is asked to judge whether the theatre – the last one left  in what is mysteriously called 'The Union' -  should finally be shut as they are guided around the back rooms of The Dukes where diehard actors  emerge from under workdesks, Christine Mackie as The Duchess was particularly memorable, and bemoan what has been lost.

This dystopian tale with inevitable echoes of novels like The Road and 1984 was written by The Alligator Club -  a collective of professional playwrights from the North West - in just five days.  It is a fun 85 minutes with the audience urged to don thermal protection blankets at one point and drink vodka by a drag queen while chanting ‘Viva Forever, Divas Together’ at another, but overall it felt like a run through of a play which needs editing and polishing.  And that's essentially what it was as the writers only finished the piece on the day and many of the actors needed their amended scripts to perform the piece.

However it is a very different night out at the theatre and I left feeling entertained which is never a bad thing. It will be interesting to find out what The Alligator Club is planning next as they're a collective worth keeping an eye on.

- Susan Riley


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