Posts Tagged ‘shunt’

Mini-review – The Architects – Shunt at the Biscuit Factory via National Theater

December 9, 2012

It is a sad, sad thing when the highlight of a night at the theater is the line to the bathroom. In this case it was a single, glowing line, set in the cement of a factory floor and leading into the darkness, very much like the string Ariadne used to help Theseus find his way out of the minotaur’s lair. But this was the finest moment of subtle artistry of the evening. For a show that was supposed to be somehow related to the tale of the Labyrinth, The Architects was nearly a total failure. There were some throwaways: in the maze we had to navigate to find our way to the central ballroom where 90% of the evening took place; a nod to Pasiphae’s impregnation in the hollow cow statue (and the reference to having dolphin sex on demand in such a statue) that stood in the ballroom (of a cruise ship, apparently) where we waited interminably for something to happen; a cow-headed creature was killed at the end; and I do believe the family portraits hung throughout the maze had a certain bovine somebody scratched out.

But seriously: who came up with this crap? I was bored ten minutes after our “cruise” started (note: the “show” starts 1:10 after doors open, and there’s nothing to do or entertain yourself with other than the bar, so no point coming early – there is no extra atmosphere to absorb elsewhere). What was the purpose of any of the announcements that took place while we sat at our tables and occasionally listened to a band play? There was a bit of a narrative going on about problems on the cruise but it just lacked focus. At the end (spoiler alert), we are split into groups by gender, sat in the dark where we watch a TV screen that tells us to “scream!” and beware the minotaur; then the curtains are drawn to reveal a large open space where 1) the people running the cruise try to help a rope artist get back onto the boat (something like 5-10 minutes of rope artistry here so not enough to rescue the evening) 2) the people on the band murder the missing member of Minos’s family. Then a further curtain opens and there are the actors again, mostly (or entirely) naked.

And that was it. The band returned to the ballroom. A red string helped us find our way out of the venue. What a waste of time and effort!

(This review is for a performance that took place at 5 PM on Sunday, December 9th, 2012. It lasted for just over an hour. Tickets can be had for 10 quid on, which might be tolerable. No, wait, it’s not. Dress warm. It runs through February 2nd. Moo.)


Review – Money – Shunt (at a space on Bermondsey Street)

October 24, 2009

Well. Money was, to put it bluntly, one of the most boring periods of time I’ve spent in the pursuit of theatrical experiences in a while. A mere 45 minutes in, I could already hear the voice in my head whispering “sound and fury”, and though I held on to hope, it was for nothing. It utterly failed to capture any kind of atmosphere, tell any kind of story, or, frankly, be interesting in even an incoherent way. I’m willing to concede that I might be suffering from a bit of burnout after seeing four shows in four days, but, well, this was the stinker of the bunch, and to be honest it was actually the worst thing I’ve dragged myself through in several months – and without the benefit of a clear way to leave.

The kicker was that I kept expecting that amidst the trouble they’d gone to to create a good atmosphere, there was going to be some kind of payoff, but there just wasn’t. It’s lame when my favorite point of an evening of theater is getting a free glass of cheap champagne and even lamer that my second favorite thing was an opportunity to throw (very light) balls at a particularly irritating performer. Silence: The Musical was a thousand times the show Money was, which is really pathetic given the differences in budgets between the two. Who knows, maybe Clockwork Quartet can do their next show in this space and really make it count for something; as it was, the transformation of the former engine housing in this industrial building was all for naught.

In short: cool set, great lights, fantastic sound system, total waste of time. I don’t think it really warrants any more effort on my part to describe it as I can’t get excited enough about it to make the effort.

(This review is for a performance that took place on Friday, October 23rd, 2009. It continues through December 22nd, though I’m sure you can find much better things to do with your time.)