The Hours Before We Wake

The Hours Before We Wake presents us with a world where you can customise your dreams and upload them to DreamShare when you wake up. Personal interaction is limited to “Have you seen my dream from last night?” and “Classic!”, while robotic voices, pleasant dings and pings and whooshy-door sounds accompany your days. The elevator music’s still the same though.

A vivid, funny and thoughtful piece of theatre that has some interesting questions to pose.

This show enjoys displaying all of our familiar social media habits back at us in witty ways. Holding it together is the story of hapless Ian, who works at Cognetix. Ian dreams of being a hero and saving Janice, the love of his life but who doesn’t seem that interested in him. He’s got a soft spot for old movies and absolutely no aptitude for heroics. Excellent use of the sound and lights helps to firmly place us in this futuristic world where people walk around with screens embedded in their arms, and the acting too is very smooth.

While the storytelling is generally interesting, it sometimes slips a little, sacrificing plausibility for where the story needs to go. Ian meets Bea, who lives on the edge of society and doesn’t take the sleeping pills. She convinces him to help her break into the omnipresent Cognetix. At first she manipulates him through his desire to be a hero and save Janice, but both this and their subsequent friendship both feel a bit off-key at times. Other moments put convenience or comedy above consistency, which sometimes works — such as the part where everyone seems to know how to karate chop people’s necks to knock them out, apart from Ian — and sometimes feels more forced, like the homemade biscuits gag. (This play has an obsession with baking as well as with social media; mostly very amusing).

It all ties together nicely towards the end though, with the witty humour keeping us chuckling throughout. The ending is somewhat ambiguous, which is deliberate but means that the finish is slightly less strong than the earlier parts. Overall this is a vivid, funny and thoughtful piece of theatre that has some interesting questions to pose. 

Reviews by Fiona Mossman

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Performances

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The Blurb

A lo-fi, sci-fi black comedy set in 2091. Technology allows us to control our dreams and upload them to DreamShare. Our story follows Ian, a perpetual beta-male, who's pretty insignificant but dreams of being a hero. After meeting the outcast Bea, he's plunged head first into a world of conspiracy. Tremolo Theatre use music, movement and intricate sound design to explore this dystopian world. 'A little gem of a show, multi-faceted and polished to perfection' ***** (StageTalkMagazine.com). 'A dark comedy, with great comedic timing and a script that's razor sharp' (BristolProspectus.co.uk).

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