Arts

Fish, Chips and Mushy Peas

Reality TV can screw you over if you’re not strong enough for it.

You might think that a critiquing satire of our immigration system and fixation with reality TV rolled into one, staged as a comedic interactive experience on a minimalist yet well-crafted set could never work… but you would be wrong. The directors, co producers and writers (two people in total) have created a futuristic plot in which the two protagonists (Michelle Ghatan’s passionate and intelligent Isra versus Magnus McCullaugh’s confused and earnest Adam) are forced to interact, in a survival-of-the fittest, Orwellian popularity contest for the opportunity to win a British Passport or face deportation. Relations between the two are further exacerbated by a manic Host (named Host) and various ludicrous tasks. The audience is not only subject to the refugee experience (being frisked and possibly interrogated upon entering the theatre), but is forced to participate throughout, ultimately deciding who will win and who will lose in a performance in which the audience should “watch with their eyes, not with their minds”.

The acting was naturalistic, and the protagonists managed to be both comic and emotive in turn, the realism of their characters contrasting with the insanity of the Host (picture Joel Grey of Cabaret fame on acid… sinister yet droll). This is a new form of participatory drama for those who like theatre, and for those who don’t like theatre, it is an engaging example of Big Brother at its most terrible.

CARLY TAYLOR

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