Reviewed – 24th May 2018
“The whole performance situates the audience in a mental space of outrageous laughter and simultaneous thought provocation”
As we continue to hear more details about the Grenfell Tower fire through the latest in the inquiry this week, it seems the subject of class difference in the U.K. is more prevalent than ever before. There couldn’t have been a more appropriate time to see Hidden Track Theatre’s award-winning production, Standard:Elite.
For many, audience participation is the stuff of nightmares, particularly if said participation is forced, accompanied by a copious amount of pressure from both the cast and the rest of the audience. Often theatre pieces that are driven by audience participation can feel a little stressful for the audience, and frequently are held together with “planted” audience members who are really extended members of the cast. However, in this instance, Hidden Track Theatre make a point that whilst audience involvement is an important aspect of the piece, it is not the focus and that no one should at any point feel pressured to join in. This is mentioned before the start of the show, as well as repeated throughout to the point where under each seat there was a card that anyone could use if they felt uncomfortable.
With this careful consideration, Hidden Track manages to create a beautifully inviting environment from the moment you walk into the theatre space. The seating is divided between ‘standard’ and ‘elite,’ the latter of which sits on the stage itself. The piece presents itself as a game, through various intricate narrative layers, whereby the aim is for ‘standard’ audience members to gain ‘elite’ audience status where you have control over the play’s storyline.
Standard:Elite is a show brimming with energy and heart, wonderfully written by Elliot Hughes and brought to life by both himself and Sophie MacKenzie. For a show that constantly jumps between a variety of performance styles as well as narrative spaces it is no mean feat for the actors who were outstanding.
It’s a wonderfully refreshing concoction of hilarity, Derren Brown-eque psychological torment, captivation and incredible depth. The whole performance situates the audience in a mental space of outrageous laughter and simultaneous thought provocation. Standard:Elite is a timely social commentary of Britain today and provides the perfect vehicle to spark conversation about the class disparity around us and what we can try to do, as a collective, to change the future.
Reviewed by Claire Minnitt
Previously reviewed at this venue