Electric at Rio CinemaCultureTheatre
The Big House Theatre Company is behind this immersive theatre experience in Dalston, which combines traditional storytelling with an innovative use of space. Despite the fact that none of the people involved are professional actors, it is a polished and wholly absorbing performance, and one that is likely to reaffirm belief in not only immersive theatre but in art therapy.
All the actors involved (and they earned the accolade last night, not one of the being anything but professional) have been through the care system. This is the basic concept behind the work of The Big House Theatre Company, who state: “We provide a platform for them to participate in the making of theatre and to have their voices heard”. Voices are a huge part of the performance, and it is a credit to the direction that each individual voice is managed into a collective harmony and not a cacophony.
Centring around the character, Faith, the play is essentially made up of separate narratives that are incorporated succinctly to reveal the larger themes of desperation, loneliness, homelessness, gender and hope. It is a human play, each of the characters believable and inspiring. It is almost impossible to over-emphasise the humanity of this play or the realness in the actors’ performances.
The production takes place underneath the Rio Cinema in an incredible space that seems as though it was custom-built for immersive theatre. Immersive theatre, however, is simply the most recent addition to the basement’s history, with it previously being used for everything from an air raid shelter to the headquarters of a feminist radio station. All these aspects are deftly woven into the play, and the moves between rooms smoothly continues the overarching narrative without distracting from the importance of the interaction between set and actors.
Overall, a funny, touching and assertive performance and an admirable project that is worth more than the ticket price to support. If you can’t go, the cause merits a donation to help take it from its current state of strength to greater and greater heights of accomplishment.
Electric is on at the Rio Cinema from 18th November until 12th December 2015, for further information or to book visit here.