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Tomorrow's Parties (Manchester)

Forced Entertainment bring another refreshing show to Manchester's Contact Theatre

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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Tomorrow's Parties
© Hugo Glendinning

You've got your ticket to see Forced Entertainment and you've read the blurb on the website or flyer, but still you're not quite sure what to expect. Tomorrow's Parties does not follow in the heavy, manic footsteps of the company's last show, The Coming Storm - in fact, it is entirely different.

And this is what makes Forced Entertainment, who devise their material through experimental improvisation, so refreshing.

The set is minimalist: a couple of stacked wooden pallets make a sturdy platform for two speakers, somewhat reminiscent of Hyde Park Corner; a string of multi-coloured lights are draped across the stage to frame the two characters as we listen to them express their whimsical thoughts and absurd speculations about the way that life will be in the future.

What is striking about this show is that the writing, devised by director Tim Etchells and the whole company, is truly beautiful. It is poetic, and at times extremely funny and luminous, but for the most it is melancholic.

And the pace at which it is delivered by the two performers, Cathy Naden and Richard Lowden, is superb, giving us time to question, to laugh, or to challenge their dreams or nightmares about what the future may bring.

Tomorrow's Parties follows a simple narrative format, that will leave the words, "In the future ..." reverberating in your mind during your trip home. You will feel thoughtful, though not hopeful, as you ponder the infinite possibilities of the future of humanity and the lack of control that we hold over it.

- Kristy Stott