The name Ontroerend Goed packs a punch. They are a multiple Fringe First winning company, back with a new immersive piece which explores voting systems. The theme is incredibly relevant in a current global political climate where new democracies have been rejected and quashed and in which cases such as Bradley Manning vs USA have put governmental powers under intense public scrutiny.
The piece opens as a light hearted insight into the causation of choice. Upon entry, audience are handed a wireless keypad with which to cast their vote when asked throughout the show. The five actors play themselves, and one by one are probed with questions regarding the results of each vote and given an opportunity to win the favour of the audience. The audience are asked periodically throughout the piece to vote for their favourite ‘candidate’. The actor with the least votes leaves the stage - or so one would think.
As time draws on we realise that the choices of the audience can be easily manipulated, whether this be through a candidate changing strategy orally or by forming a coalition with a rival. Even the compere hosting each ‘election’ as an unbiased and independent entity may manipulate results.
The piece is extremely well put together. It questions its audience, challenging their principles and ideals whilst cleverly analysing and showcasing political technique. However, I feel it could have been pushed further. There were moments of intensity that if developed would have been jaw dropping. Perhaps manipulating the audience further by asking more provocative questions, or even looking deeper into themes of mob mentality and group choice would have added another interesting layer. However the piece remains an insightful and current exploration into an already broadly discussed and publicised debate over the implications, relevance and manipulation of choice.