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The Thrill Of It All (Manchester)

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
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Forced Entertainment live up to their name in their latest production, The Thrill of It All, driving you to levels of insanity by the time you are leaving the auditorium.

The main artists, led by director Tim Etchells, are recognised worldwide as being at the forefront of postmodern performance. Undoubtedly, some of their material reflects why they are so popular- the spontaneous comedy, the fragmentation of material, the feeling of being within a rehearsal space- and if you have studied them, you will appreciate at least thirty minutes of their latest two hour piece.

However, for a company that thrives off being one of a kind, they are producing material that has been seen before. Spectacular, for example, did have a significantly smaller cast and was far more minimal in design, but it was self-reflexive, pushed the boundaries of theatre and asked exactly the same questions to their audience.

Although it is understandable that all nine performers were experimenting with vocal sounds, their ‘larger than life’ tones did make you feel like you had accidentally stepped into Teletubby land, rather than the Contact Theatre.

One section that looks at the ‘small things’ in life is the thrill of the piece, the casts playfulness and random improvisation having a contagious quality that will tickle even the most irritated audience member.

Reviewing a postmodern show is ultimately a no-win situation. You say you don’t like something- they see that as a positive. Despite all of this, it cannot be disputed that the company’s concepts are now becoming far more interesting than its practice, which, after this performance, has been seen one too many times.

- Rebecca Cohen


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