Awakening, Sweet and Sour Sensory Composition

Immersive shows are one of those strands of theatre which can be either spectacular or absolutely appalling. Unfortunately this show falls into the latter category. I can honestly say that I have never in my life felt so uncomfortable during a show. Maybe I didn’t engage or embrace it as actively as was expected but throughout, I became more and more tense and in pain as I prayed that they wouldn’t come anywhere near me.

I found little to enjoy from this performance.

With immersive shows it is vital that trust is built up between the performers and the audience. However here the three actors, with no hesitation, start grabbing audience members from the very beginning; lifting their hands up and slapping them down, getting them to stand up and dance and sitting next to or even on top of them. At first what seemed bizarre soon became incredibly unsettling, so much so that I wanted to get up out of my chair and run.

The medium can be a great way to provoke your audience and create different atmospheres. Many of the best deliberately try to make their audience uncomfortable and scared, to shock them out of their comfort zone. But these shows have a point and reason to be doing this.

Instead here, we see the three actors aimlessly wondering around, performing random, abstract actions which seemingly have no correlation between one another. Therefore, their crossing of social boundaries before implementing a bond between them and the audience, and the combination of weird costumes, music and movements, provide an extremely unpleasant experience which doesn’t provoke any thoughts or reactions other than ‘get away from me’.

This is one of those pieces where it is very subjective and each person’s experience may be entirely different, but the freeform structure, absence of narrative or obvious theme and crossing of social boundaries meant I found little to enjoy from this performance. 

Reviews by Emily Blackwell

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Performances

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The Blurb

Whether protective, polite or provocative, we all wear masks to conceal ourselves from others, and sometimes from ourselves. What would happen if we stripped those away? Awakening is an immersive theatrical experience designed to examine those masks from both sides, how they define and confine us individually and collectively. Don a mask and dive into a surreal modern morality play whose story has yet to be told. Directed by us but created by you, each performance creates its own reflection of contemporary society in all its terrifying beauty.

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