The Age We Are is a young company bringing their first production,
With passionate young cultural advocates like The Age We Are around, I am confident that the dystopian future they predict can never possibly come to pass.
We enter and find the performers – Oliver Bates, Grace Bouchard, Toby Waterworth, Tom Chudley-Evans, Chloe Taylor and Alice Morgan-Richards – scattered across the stage, wearing grey clothes and heavy boots, hinting at the blandness of the art-less future. They read newspapers and play music. Through reading out newspaper headlines, they run us through the events that await us: from arts funding cuts and the banning of syncopated music to the banning of all the arts. We then get a snapshot of the world after the arts have disappeared: a sinister, functional future with overtones of 1984, Black Mirror and The Matrix. During one workday, however, one woman discovers the entrance to a tunnel, which leads her to a cave full of old instruments, old paintings and old newspapers. Gradually, the workers start to reacquaint themselves with the arts.
The story sounds a little dire, but the wonderful thing about The Age We Are is how much humour and fun they have managed to inject into a fairly grim premise. Excellent use of physical storytelling helps and the scenes in which workers try to teach themselves about music, dancing and painting are charming. The production is devised and there are some beautiful lines delivered by the performers as they experience what the arts do to their lives and how it changes their outlook on the world.
Ably assisted by director Leigh Toney, this is a well-executed production that is less about how dreadful it would be if the arts were lost, and more about why the arts are wonderful and important. With passionate young cultural advocates like The Age We Are around, I am confident that the dystopian future they predict can never possibly come to pass.