Red Button

Red Button is a quirky and peculiar piece of science fiction theatre that doesn’t quite find its feet. As it is sadly let down by a messy and ambiguous script.

If you are into dystopias, eerie drugs trips and bizarre propaganda or have a particular interest in homemade instruments Red Button might be worth for you. Otherwise, it’s not worth seeking out.

On a floating city above the war-torn land below where the mutants roam, Help Corporation is here for you providing you with drugs, running your radio stations, providing your daily doses of propaganda and giving out buttons that destroy the world out to couples they like. Greg and Beth are one such couple – singled out to receive a button that could end the world. The play follows the months afterwards as they warp and change in response to such power.

The show is soundtracked by the percussive songs on the radio, all with excellent, surreal song titles, played energetically and eccentrically on a collection of household objects and PVC pipes – Blue Man Group style. They were very compelling to watch and provided a neat counterpoint to the action on stage.

The show was mostly well performed. Including one of the most disconcerting bad trips I have seen – making excellent use of speaking in unison. The cast did their best with the heavily one dimensional and stylised characters. Greg’s character arc genuinely involved discovering he had no personality. The difficulties crept in from the script itself. It was tough to tell what the point was supposed to be. Horatio Theatre Company claim that their work is from a political or social perspective. I would not be able to tell you the political message of the show: authoritarian, totalitarian dystopias are bad, don’t get addicted to drugs kids, power corrupts or listen to your local prostitute – it could have been any of them. Also the costume didn’t help distinguish between different characters, meaning you could happily assume that the cast all played on character throughout the entire thing. Which was logistically confusing.

If you are into dystopias, eerie drugs trips and bizarre propaganda or have a particular interest in homemade instruments Red Button might be worth for you. Otherwise, it’s not worth seeking out.

Reviews by M Johnson

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

A science fiction comedy about love and the end of the world. In a futuristic world with flying cities and absurd radio dramas, a young and innocent couple struggles to find a fulfilling purpose to their existence. Greg and Beth have a great home, great jobs, and all the comfort they could ask for. However, they feel there is something missing from their lives. They decide to volunteer as charity workers, hoping to be asked to take care of cute puppies and kittens. Instead, they are given the red button that destroys the world.