A Series of Increasingly Impossible Acts
  • By Tom King
  • |
  • 5th Aug 2014
  • |
  • ★★★★

My first clue should have been the warmup. Many pieces of physical theatre ask a lot from their audience, but few begin with an aerobics-style stretching session. But then, there are few where both the cast and the audience must be so genuinely prepared for anything.

'A Series of Increasingly Impossible Events' is an experiment in truly spontaneous theatre.

'A Series of Increasingly Impossible Events' is an experiment in truly spontaneous theatre. A protagonist is chosen at random from the cast by a lucky draw, and all else follows from there in a series of short, bizarre scenes. To be honest, it's not a concept which would normally have enticed me- it's potentially a bit 'drama game' - but in the hands of these performers each scene is a joy to watch, even if they never quite come together into a coherent whole.

The seemingly-random scenes, (on this night centred around bashful Londoner Billy), run from awkward dance classes to a wordless neon-lit reconstruction of a one night stand to a strange fear-based strip wrestling match. The one apparent constant is the series of increasingly impossible acts - an iron bar to bend, a suitcase to climb into, a tyre to move with the power of the mind, and a final eating challenge which drew gasps and giggles from the audience. And, punctuating this, the occasional inquiry - “What’s tonight’s show about, Billy?” - the answer to which shapes the tone of the following scenes.


If you're looking to sit back and be told a structured story, this is not the show for you. If however, you're willing to puzzle out your own meaning while just enjoying the spectacle in front of you, then you won't fail to leave with a smile on your face. This is a visually striking production with a hugely energetic cast and a wonderful sense of humour. What's tonight's show about, Billy? I'm not sure it really matters - it’s brilliant fun all the same.

Reviews by Tom King

Summerhall

A Fortunate Man

★★★
Underbelly, Cowgate

The Cat's Mother

★★★
The Stand Comedy Club 3 & 4

Phill Jupitus: Sassy Knack

★★★★
Traverse Theatre

Nigel Slater’s Toast

★★★
CanadaHub @ King's Hall in association with Summerhall

Famous Puppet Death Scenes

★★★★
Assembly George Square Gardens

Jess Robinson: No Filter

★★★★

Performances

Location

The Blurb

Do you like your theatre fearless? Never the same show twice pushing the limits of human endeavour to the brink of failure or triumph. The Secret Theatre Company is a 20 strong ensemble of actors, writers, directors and designers created to challenge the way theatre is produced and presented in Britain. The company has taken London by storm since their first provocative show in September 2013 courting controversy and sparking debate and discussion. Now they bring their innovative and inventive style to the Edinburgh Fringe.