Gruff Theatre makes site specific theatre, that encourages the audience to take part of the world they’ve created. And did they manage to do just that! ‘It Made Me Consider Me’ invites you in to a futuristic company that deals with memory storage and you’re a new recruit. You will be taken around their headquarters and you get to see every how R.A.L.P.H is run – both good and bad.
The New Diorama theatre, or more accurately their office space the audience is shown to, hosts this trip down ‘memory lane’. It is site-specific, it is immersive, but first and foremost it is audience interaction at its finest. You cannot attend this performance without being talked to or picked on by the fantastic actors, so if that’s not your cup of tea, then this is not for you. It really pushes the idea of interaction, when Sue from HR gets you to role play a disciplinary with her or asks you what makes you the happiest in the world. No one feels uncomfortable though, they take good care of their new recruits at R.A.L.P.H.
The best thing about this show is the actors. As satirical as their characters are, they are also genuine and believable, and it makes us trust them although they mess up the induction time after time. The set is incredible – as it is set in an office space of a company that deals with something that doesn’t exist, they make the audience believe that all the weird machine (that probably just happened to be in the building anyway) is part of the whole memory harvesting idea.
Unfortunately some of these memories somehow got lose, assumably, and that lead to a lot of confusion and bizarre plot and acting moments. To show memories, they moved their bodies in a way that can only be described as something out of Scary Movie 8 – too much, too ridiculous, too bizarre. And half the time the audience had no idea what those situations even had to do with the story. It made us lose faith in the world they had created.
As this story/madness runs more and more wild, a guy saves the audience, but no one knows who he is or how he fits in to the story. It’s a real shame, as the idea behind the show and the work in terms of acting and stage management was so great. It needed a bit more structure, a bit more plot and story line and a bit more purpose.
That being said, there was not a bored audience member at any point, everyone was enjoying themselves fully. As the show finished, people felt a tad anticlimactic, as the ending left them with unanswered questions – and not the good kind. It is worth seeing as a great experience of ‘to the edge’ immersive audience interaction, but if you’re a sucker for plot and purpose, maybe spend your night elsewhere.
It Made Me Consider Me plays until 21st of February at the New Diorama Theatre.
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