In the Beginning Was the End at Somerset House
We couldn’t possibly spoil the fun by giving anything away. Part of the enjoyment of the piece is in not knowing what may be around the corner and having no idea what to expect. In immersive or site-specific theatre, it’s like being let loose behind the scenes of a film or art installation. Things happen around you. Actors (or are they actors?) may interact with you, ignore you, or carry on as if no one is there.
Everyone will have a slightly different experience, but a complete narrative pieces itself together through clues, scenes played out live and through media screens, settings and props.
In The Beginning Was the End is at times hilarious, alarming, shocking and surprising. It’s also visually intriguing, and accompanied by atmospheric sounds and music.
And so, without us revealing anything at all, this work is a chance to wander round emptied halls and corridors of Somerset House and Kings College. Theatre company dreamthinkspeak create an imagined world around you and make the most of the gloriously faded magnificence of the setting.
Part of the experience is about overcoming nervousness of venturing into seemingly empty rooms, and trusting your instincts. There are people dotted around to make sure you don’t stray off course, but no one will lead you through, and if you are not curious, you may overlook something. Whatever you do, do not miss out on what happens on the spiral stairs, and at the sheer drop room.
It all adds up to a multi-layered narrative which is both absurd and poignant, and weaves together the biggest themes of mankind’s progression and corporate madness with invented cultural references we can all understand. It also makes you observe your own behaviour and that of others, as we respond to and negotiate the unfamiliar. When confronted by what we all share, a naked human form, do we giggle or are we moved?
Arrive at least a few minutes early, as the timed tickets only allow a small group entry at a time, and they can’t let more in even if you are only slightly late. It takes at least an hour to make your way through the living story, and you are free to linger and examine the props and settings. A small army of creatives are behind this venture. Just go along with it.