Some People Talk About Violence
  • By Liam Rees
  • |
  • 15th Aug 2015
  • |
  • ★★★★★

With the title Some People Talk About Violence one would be forgiven for thinking Barrel Organ’s new show is serious and depressing. It’s not. Despite dealing with institutional violence it is incredibly playful and galvanising, leaving the audience shaken, with questions but no answers, and cementing Barrel Organ’s reputation as one of the cleverest and most exciting new theatre companies working in Britain right now.

Some People Talk About Violence is a beautifully crafted and layered piece of theatre.

Some context is required in order to explain this wonderful show: There are six actors in Barrel Organ who play the four characters on a rotating basis; they don’t know which part they’ll be playing until they’re assigned one by the audience. What follows is a series of monologues from A Girl, Her Brother, Her Mother and The Narrator about watching repeats of The Big Bang Theory, family and the near impossibility of understanding someone else interspersed with drama games.

This unconventional form means there’s the constant feeling of spontaneity – no one knows exactly what will happen and the atmosphere is electric. The performers’ lack of professional training (the company was formed by University of Warwick graduates) means that they actually talk to the audience like real people, complete with ums, ers and interruptions which only makes the actor/audience relationship more intimate.

Another surprising aspect about Some People Talk About Violence is its apparent lack of (obvious) violence. Instead the company seems more interested in the little, everyday acts of violence that we probably never even notice and the societal structures that drive people to commit acts of violence in the first place.

While the monologues show the characters trapped inside their own personal bubbles, incapable of understanding each other, the drama games provide us with a shot of adrenaline as the characters finally connect, even if it is in a twisted and violent way. We gleefully watch two performers playing slapsies when they attempt to outdo each other in describing the horrendous and hysterical acts of violence they committed to the previous audience. The effect is both hilarious and disconcerting as we’re forced to question our attitudes to violence as well as our roles as spectators and accomplices in such acts. The best thing about it is they don’t supply us with any answers.

Some People Talk About Violence is a beautifully crafted and layered piece of theatre, and with 36 potential casting combinations I will be certain to see these gifted theatre-makers again.

Reviews by Liam Rees

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★★★
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Signals

★★★
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★★★
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★★★
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★★★★
CanadaHub @ King's Hall in association with Summerhall

Chase Scenes

★★★

Performances

Location

The Blurb

'There is no use in rage. There is no use in screaming. There is no use in crying out and screaming “this is unfair”, just f*cking wait, cause no one cares.’ In a world of globalization and greed, of zero-hour contracts and The Big Bang Theory, violence worms its way into every aspect of our lives. Following their debut show Nothing, multi award-winning young company Barrel Organ present Some People Talk About Violence. Expect people, or just ideas, in mindless frustration, on the edge of some kind of revolt. Developed at and supported by CPT.