You don a white mask and read a list of instructions upon entering The Space at Jury’s Inn. “If you have any problem during the performance, please quietly leave the space”, you’re told. Apprehensive and slightly scared, you shuffle into the room only to be greeted by two figures. In white bodysuits, masks and gloves, you sit waiting for their movement, any movement. Suddenly they’re awake, and it only gets increasingly weird.
it’s hard not to notice the surroundings and break the show’s intended immersion
Stifling giggles, your face is obscured by mask after mask. You’re moved, jostled, hugged and arranged like a human puppet. Strange, trance-like music is an undercurrent throughout and it is interesting to experience how your pulse changes with its tempo. Interesting too, are the moments when your hands are placed within a stranger’s and you find a small comfort in the fact that someone else is going through the same ‘what the f**k’ thoughts that you are.
The ‘sensory’ experience, however, does not quite live up to its description: while you oscillate between sight and blindness, there’s no instance of the ‘sweet’ or the ‘sour’. As no smells or tastes are included whatsoever, it all starts to feel repetitive and monotonous.
Unfortunately, the modest space means it’s hard not to notice the surroundings and break the show’s intended immersion. What’s more, the production is directionless. While a couple of moral themes are hinted at - stop being superficially aware of your own reactions; stop resisting human contact or intimacy – they’re slightly too vague to become powerful.
Immersive and interactive theatre is always going to be ‘an experience’; it’s just a shame Nitroglicerina Theatre’s ‘awakening’ couldn’t be an enlightening one. At £10 a ticket, if you miss it, you’re not really missing out.