No Feedback at Theatre Delicatessen
Taking over an unassuming, disused classroom in the old Guardian building in Farringdon, No Feedback turns the everyday into the dystopian through an immersive theatre experience, which is both brilliantly subtle and surprisingly unsettling.
Skilfully devised and confidently executed, No Feedback places the audience in an imagined town hall meeting, where the cast of six eerily robotic and permanently smiling women lead the group through a series of activities as they reveal “ground-breaking new scientific discoveries of importance to society’s wellbeing”. Developed in collaboration with researchers looking into the ten stages of genocide at Goldsmiths University of London, University of Westminster and with the support of several humanitarian organisations, the piece is a live action, almost too-close-for-comfort exploration of the subject matter. To reveal what happens would be to spoil the effect of a play that is more social experiment than performance.
The piece is half-improvised so that no two performances are the same, and orchestrated with great conviction and – essential to any believable site-specific production – commitment by the performers. A series of simple-yet-effective choreographed movements create the regimentals of a believable, chilling regime. The costumes and sparseness of setting, which could have threatened to derail any magic of the piece, cleverly serve to put the audience off-guard as the tone escalates.
This is the antithesis of grand scale immersive theatre such as that produced by Punch Drunk, where the company creates another world for the audience to explore using sets with painstaking levels of detail and style. That has its thrilling place, however No Feedback succeeds in creating a new level of theatre experience, in which the audience as participators become all-too-aware that they are abetting in creating a chilling new future, as well as witnessing it.
Photo: Will Jennings
No Feedback is at Theatre Delicatessen from 21st May to 6th June 2015, for further information or to book visit here.