Counting Sheep
  • By Liam Rees
  • |
  • 18th Aug 2016
  • |
  • ★★★★★

Counting Sheep is a theatrical triumph that throws the audience into the centre of the 2014 Ukrainian revolution. In slightly over an hour and half we eat, we dance and we riot together, playing witness to the horrors of state-sanctioned violence against its own people - it’s an invigorating experience that properly connects you to the other members of the audience and reminds you of humanity’s capacity for compassion in the face of unspeakable suffering.

It’s sweaty, it’s sweary, it’s uplifting and it’s everything theatre should be and more

Lemon Bucket Orkestra create a raucous atmosphere and it doesn’t matter that they’re screaming instructions at you in Ukrainian, the atmosphere in the crowd and the projections looming above the stage provides all the information you really need. Also when you’re handed a riot shield you generally don’t ask many questions, you just get stuck in – as well as recreating the experience of being in a riot it also reveals the ease with which people can slip into a mob mentality. Everyone in the crowd gets involved: building barricades, dishing out food to the crowd and even joining in the funeral march for our fallen brothers in arms, it’s amazing how quickly you feel connected to everyone else in the show and the strong desire to protect each other when the riot police arrive.

Directors Mark and Marichka Marczyk have created a unique experience that cuts through the media reports and reminds us of the human experience of revolt that we rarely see in Britain. There are too many creatives involved to credit but every component works together seamlessly to create such an all-encompassing experience: the sound and lighting highlights the brutality of revolution and the projections remind us to think and consider why the revolution is taking place and what everyone is fighting for in the first place.

It’s sweaty, it’s sweary, it’s uplifting and it’s everything theatre should be and more – everyone, everywhere should see it.

Reviews by Liam Rees

Pleasance Courtyard

Bible John

★★★★★
Underbelly, Cowgate

America Is Hard to See

★★★★★
Underbelly, Cowgate

CONSPIRACY

★★★
Pleasance Courtyard

UNCONDITIONAL

★★★
Pleasance Courtyard

Signals

★★★
Summerhall

Everything Not Saved

★★★

Since you’re here…

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Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
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Performances

Location

The Blurb

A rousing call to arms by a 15-piece guerrilla-folk punk band. Bolstered by first-hand footage from behind the barricades, Counting Sheep invites you to lose yourself in the events that changed the course of Ukraine’s history. Sing, march, protest, dance, eat, recoil, laugh, cry – experience the revolution on the main floor, including food, or from the balcony seats above. Sung in traditional Ukrainian polyphony, this is an electrifying exploration of human resilience and immersive theatre at its best. 'As close as one could get to experiencing a revolution without actually putting your life on the line' (Torontoist.com).

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