Tate Postmodern

The Tate Postmodern has everything you would expect to from a contemporary art gallery: a whole host of hipster credentials, disinterested security and an overpriced gift shop by the exit. It's an immersive show, set in the most recent and haphazard offshoot of the Tate portfolio. Don't touch the art.

The strength of the show is that I feel like I've visited this gallery many times before.

The strength of the show is that I feel like I've visited this gallery many times before. The setting is enjoyably accurate, although with more self-awareness than the real world they parody. Each art piece is kookily labelled and there is a high level of detail throughout the set, although I'd have appreciated some more of it. We're comfortable with gallery layout and decorum, making entering the show very easy. References to the art world are accessible enough that everyone could understand, although perhaps some more detailed jokes for those who are more knowledgeable would be particularly satisfying and enriching.

Unlike other immersive experiences at the Fringe, there are periods of time where you are left to explore without the guidance of the actors. Although this can feel awkward, as there aren't quite enough things to do to maintain engagement levels, it is reflective of a genuine gallery experience. The idea is to create a unique experience for each audience member and, indeed, there are sections of the show that I'm aware I didn't experience and possibly many more I'm missed entirely.

There are a variety of twists and reveals, some more predictable than others, and some thoroughly enjoyable moments. I completely recommend taking the audio-tour; it is genuinely hilarious and all the more special for it being a private experience. Choosing to layer a narrative arc over their immersive world is absolutely the right decision, however the drama isn't pushed as far as it could've done and it feels flat at times. I didn't feel the fear or intimidation necessary to make the peaks of conflict as effective as they could be.

The performances are good, although inconsistent, and there isn't quite enough material in the improvised interactions for it not to become repetitive at times. Sarah Wilson brings very well observed characterisation and some great humour as the straight-laced but struggling curator.

One of the first pieces you see in the gallery explains that Tate Postmodern started as an office joke by a guy called Alistair at the actual Tate and, while this is a creation story invented by the team, the piece has the feeling of a brilliant joke that blossomed into a Fringe show. Perhaps the show needs some of that whimsy back; it has plenty of earnest seriousness but needs a few more spaces for us to giggle and take a breath.

Reviews by Cara Ballingall

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The Blurb

At Tate Postmodern, you can see the full breadth of contemporary art in one visit, from Dulux colour boards to the gift store. Surrounded by security guards, curators, postcards, and art, you will be part of the world's greatest performance art piece. Join us for an immersive theatrical experience within an art gallery, where you are centre stage and the show is 360. We have a gift shop. ‘Outrageously playful … damn good show’ (Tab).