by Slung Low.
Liverpool Playhouse Williamson Square L1 1EL 22-26 June 2010.
Tue-Fri: starts 2.30pm-4.10pm; 6.30pm-8.10pm at 20-minute intervals.
Sat: starts 12.30pm-2.10pm; 4.30pm-6.10pm.
Runs 25min No interval.
TICKETS: 0151 709 4776.
Review: Timothy Ramsden 9 June at Lawrence Batley Theatre Huddersfield.
A journey through a house and into a mind.
I stepped onto the Lawrence Batley stage at twenty-to-eight. Not to give a performance; more to receive one. Statements about theatre bringing people together as an audience seem irrelevant when you’re alone, where scene-shifting means it’s you, rather than the set, which moves.
Are you still an audience? Here, certainly, you’re following instructions, spoken gently into the head-set which guides you through the five garden-shed-like structures across the theatre’s stage, most representing a domestic room.
Young Mark, seen on video, guides you through – instructions are so precise I found just one moment early on where it wasn’t obvious what to do next. If the puzzle that was to be solved was almost as easily discerned, that may be because the piece is primarily focused on 12-18s, who may not have come across the condition that makes meanings so confusing to Mark.
His voiceover gabbling statistics, the fact that the toy he’s lost is a set of marbles, are suggestive. And there’s the different, confidential tone from his older brother, a soldier. Here you take on the role of Someone Else in mediating between Mark and brother Danny, in Afghanistan. Huddled in a desert tent, the one departure from home settings, you become aware of Danny’s silhouette in profile outside, his voice quietly asking Someone Else to help communicate with Mark.
Only one live person’s, briefly, encountered – the lads’ mother, in a kitchen. It’s Mark and his mind that are important throughout the journey, his video image changing to your picture and back, or you standing on his bed, head through a hole in the ceiling. The video Mark is quick, darting in movement and speech, in a very different gear from everything else about this experience.
Like The London Eye Mystery, recently dramatised at London’s Unicorn Theatre, Small Worlds gives an insight into a kind of mind that operates a different way from most. Working through experience, forming a kind of quest for the elusive Mark and the truth about him, Leeds’ Slung Low Theatre, working with Liverpool’s Fuse Theatre, have developed a brief, concentrated and calmly enlightening near half-hour.
Jo Berglund, Marie Blunck, Ben Eaton, Lucy Ellinson, Heather Fenoughty, Lucy Hind,Sally Kent, Alan Lane, Daniel Mallaghan, J.C. Marshall, Victoria Pratt, Ben Pugh, Matthew David Scott, Richard Warburton, Ade Ward.