Last night I walked into the Bedford Pub in Balham with a friend feeling completely lost, neither of us had been to this theatre before and despite the clear signs pointing up the stairs it took us a minute to figure out where we were going. It didn’t matter, we were early and actually the first to arrive. Within 20 minutes the rest of the audience had trickled in totalling us at around fifteen. Probably less. I could feel the anticipation from all of us as we waited to enter. I had no idea what to expect. From reading the synopsis online I knew it would be incredibly interactive. It is described as a show the whole audience participates in, which excited and terrified me in equal amounts.
So here’s how it works: you pick one of five scenarios to see. Once you arrive at the theatre you are given a piece of white material to place on yourself clearly, either wrapped around your wrist or hanging from your neck. This indicates to the actors your willingness to participate. If for any reason you want a few minutes out to breathe and watch the show unfold all you need to do is take this off and you will be left alone. I loved this, it definitely helps make you feel less trapped and shows that Oneohone have given thought to their audience members, many of whom aren’t actors themselves. However, in the performance I saw and took part in not one person removed their band – we were having way too much fun.
The show itself lasts for 45 minutes and is an adaptation of a classic text. The performance I saw was a snippet of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, a romantic comedy, but I believe this will be different for each of the five scenarios. Every audience member is included in the performance from the moment they enter the room. Four members were picked at random to be one of the main characters, myself included, while the other audience members played little scenes of their own. You get so involved in what you are doing as your character that it’s impossible to watch the show as a whole. Not that that matters. The actors are so talented at helping create the environment and make it seem as real as possible that I found myself getting lost in the performance and 45 minutes flew by.
What stands out so much with this piece of immersive theatre over others I have seen is this ability to get completely lost. Not only that but you are given the chance to truly shake the performance up completely if you want to. All the actors were highly skilled and very talented – able to respond to anything you throw in their direction while remaining in character the entire time. Agree with where they are taking you or fight against it, either way they will be accommodating to wherever your whim takes you.
An excellent, innovative and progressive piece of theatre that absolutely cannot be missed. Oneohone theatre company is sure to be making waves in the theatre world for years to come and you’re going to want to make sure you can say you were there from the start. Tonight is the last two performances at TheatreN16 so if you can make sure to head over to Balham and catch either Trust Me at 7:30 or Bind Me at 9:00 or both! I can promise you will be in for an incredibly fun night. Don’t miss out.
Tickets are £16 and available on the door