Posts Tagged ‘Rift’

Review – Styx – RIFT at A Secret Location Near Tottenham Hale

July 15, 2015

To start any review of this show, I must actually start with a review of the location, because, while RIFT have been specializing in site specific performances for some time, it looks like they’re going to be settling down in this place. The gates of hell are pleasant indeed; wooden walkways and benches with a water feature in the middle and flowers dripping over the edges; a second story visiting-and-drinking area overlooking the entire space; and a million pleasant spots to stop and wait. The bar has a series of Stygian-inspired drinks, the most unmissable of which was the pomegranate mojito – holy shades of Persephone! I felt pretty confident that even if I ate the fruit garnish I’d be allowed to leave afterwards so I did in. Yum! It was an absolutely perfect place to spend a lovely summer day, although I wonder how it will hold up in the rain … still, it’s not where my head was that day. I couldn’t have felt further away from any sort of dark thoughts. Bring on the party!

At last, though, I was taken from my seats in Hell’s Little Waiting Room and me and my companion were escorted into the building, being carefully fitted with headphones and a tiny pink MP3 device so that by the time we made it inside, we were confirmed as fully wired for sound. And then our journey to the Styx began, or, rather, our journey through this narrative. Our headphones played a story about at attempt to deal with an urn that should have been full of ashes; I, the interlocutor, was attempting to deal with a death both externally (through the urn) and internally. This lead to a journey across London: I went to a funeral parlor, a wood (possibly Hampstead Heath), a cafe, and eventually an underground platform. But this, in some ways, is where the voice in my head told me I was supposed to be going; I was so overwhelmed with the visual stimuli that I’m afraid I nearly entirely lost the thread of the narration and kind of went into a dream state where the things I was seeing connected in their own way: the voice in my head was like the words you hear people speak in a dream, where the words are completely nonsensical and the meaning comes through later, thanks to the miracle of internal logic.

So instead of carrying on by telling you what maybe I was supposed to have going on, I’m going to tell you about what I experienced and how my dream logic brain put things together (with some attempt at not revealing all): I was on a journey of the parallel world of death and the dead that exists alongside the London we see every day. The port of entry might be a funeral parlor; the characters I met were speaking words and going through emotions that I thought made sense but were more roles they were playing as functionaries in this parallel world. Every park is also a graveyard; every public space is peopled by the living (barely), the dead (mostly) and the soon to be dead, who glow with the energy of their impending transformation. Every room, every tube platform is a place full of more beings who used to exist then those who exist now; we attempt to hold on to those alive and those dead and yet wind up losing both. Eventually we lose ourselves. Eventually everything is gone, except the two pennies we thrust in our pocket before we started the journey and the pomegranate seeds we still hold, thoughtfully, in our mouth – a last connection with the world of the sun and the living we like to pretend is the only reality, but is in fact the true illusion.

(This review is for a performance that took place the night of July 7th, 2015. It continues through August 1; returns may be available at the door.)

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Webcowgirl’s guide to surviving Rift’s Macbeth (Balfron Towers)

June 29, 2014

I’ll be publishing a tell-all review soon (since it’s sold out I want to have a good record of the show), but for you who want to preserve the air of mystery yet still need to know how to properly prepare yourself, here’s a few tips.

1. Do show up on time. The DLR runs only about every 10 minutes to the nearest station so allow for the extra wait at Stratford.
2. You’ll be asked to change to Bordurian money tokens, but don’t go wild – four quid per drink is enough, and you won’t want the hassle of changing back when you leave. Bevvies are limited to red/white, water, a few sodas, cheap mixer booze, and two juices.
3. Pee before you go in as the show starts immediately when you are walked into the sub-basement.
4. EAT before you arrive. The late night “feast” of borsht, sliced bread, and grilled peppers is wholly inadequate to normal caloric intake; I’d consider it an atmospheric snack. Any other food will not be forthcoming at any point (not even crisps) until breakfast so EAT BEFORE YOU ARRIVE. And pack a snack bar or two in your bag if you suffer from blood sugar issues. And for God’s sake don’t eat the thin yellow peppers.
5. If in the room with the three couches and the TV, try getting a corner seat facing the door to the hallway. (I’m not sure about the layouts of all of the areas where the show is being performed – there are three casts, I’m told – but I’m guessing the action is probably set up on similar lines.)
6. You may need to pee between scenes but if so go immediately after. I’ll never know just what was in that letter Lady Macbeth got, but she sure got excited about something.
7. In fact, for toliet timing, I suggest the moment immediately after Duncan is offed. The bit after is VERY LONG and does not feature anything in the play itself.
8. Smokers: you might want to secrete some on your body or bring e-cigs as after 5 hours you’ll be dying. There is patio access so you can get a smoke in, though it might be hard to figure out when you can do this without having a scene take place. My advice: the build up to the attack (Birnam Woods marching) is lengthy; it’s a nice time to admire the view even if you don’t smoke.
9. Is it worth spending the night in uncomfortable circumstances? No: the show ends before we go to bed so if you want to cab it home, you genuinely won’t miss anything in the morning. Staff was very accommodating about letting people get their stuff (including our confiscated phones) and leave early.
10. The beds (if you got beds) are actually pretty comfy: I slept like a champ and got in about 6 1/2 hours before we were awakened. However, there was one wash rag and a bathroom that was suffering from an excess of Damned Spots so be advised that the hospitality situation is quite straitened – even getting cups for water required a bit of an effort and you certainly won’t be bathing – just sleeping in a bunk bed.
11. Breakfast is served at about a quarter til nine and consists of tea, coffee, croissants, and fresh fruit. I found this completely adequate and really enjoyed visiting with my fellow hard core theater goers. Final checkout is at ten.