Reviewed – 24th January 2018
“without a moment to blink you are placed in your faction to begin the game”
“Do more than belong: participate”
(William Arthur Ward)
Most often, or not, as audience members in a theatre we naturally fall into the habit of remaining subdued during a performance, unless encouraged to do otherwise – and most likely only if we see others doing the same. As soon as we find our seats and settle in, it’s almost as if we silence ourselves simultaneously as we turn our phones onto ‘silent-mode.’ Whilst this may be generalising ever so slightly, if there ever was an interactive performance to kick-start your audience-member-receptors into gear, look no further than Revolution.
As part of the extensive programme at this year’s Vault Festival, Revolution is a 90-minute immersive and interactive performance by Exit Productions inspired by games like Risk, Diplomacy, Settlers of Catan, and Civilisation. It takes place during a revolutionary upheaval in London whereby the audience are protagonists in the story and are split into rival factions. Throughout the high-energy performance it is up to you and your fellow audience members to decide the course of the revolution.
The performance is a delightful ride from the very beginning. After gathering at the meeting point before the performance we were led through the Vault Tunnels past a variety of political graffiti, the majority being various depictions of Trump, which seemed incredibly poignant as a precursor to the performance. Once we arrived at the venue we were quickly ushered inside where an intense soundscape filled the space, and without a moment to blink you are placed in your faction to begin the game.
This arena couldn’t have fit this performance more appropriately, there was an open area where, between rounds, the audience convened, as well as divided spaces for the faction HQs. It felt almost maze-like, adding another layer to an already incredibly animated experience. Additionally, the set was comprised of a selection of furniture that gave that feeling of instant immersion, vital for such a performance.
The potential downside of such a performance is that it relies so heavily on the audience willingly participating for the full game. However, the overall atmosphere of the game was commanded incredibly efficiently by the entirety of the actors (Peter Dewhurst, Lauren Gibson, Chris Neels, Clemency Thorburn), often without you realising. Even for the most shy of audience members, the energy within the performance space will make you feel like taking part is the only option.
If you’re in need of channelling your inner-frustration with the current political climate elsewhere, I’d wholeheartedly recommend taking part in Revolution as a remedy. I promise, it works!
Reviewed by Claire Minnit
Vaults Theatre until 18th March