THEY ONLY COME AT NIGHT: VISIONS
by Slung Low.
Barbican (Car Park 2) To 15 November 2009.
6pm-9.30pm (at 15 minute intervals).
Runs 35min No interval.
TICKETS: 0845 120 7550 (booking fee).
www.barbican.org.uk/bite (reduced booking fee).
Review: Timothy Ramsden 8 November.
Larking mid the parking at the Barbican.
It’s too bad of Slung Low theatre not to make it from Yorkshire to the Barbican. Their slot’s filled by City Night Tours, who send trios of people off in a people-carrier. Not that anyone’s carried far: a brief circling of the Barbican Centre then sudden disappearances and something going bump in the night, before the audience is decanted at the entrance to one of the Barbican’s car parks.
Each has a colour trail to follow (mine was yellow, which would have been all right, but the Barbican’s car park is festooned with double yellow lines, leading me astray into red territory). Padding along salt-trails (“Stay salty,” a crisp young fellow later advised me) and through slits in polythene hangings, wondering where Barbican patrons were going to leave their cars for the evening concert, various headphones relayed fearful tales of vampires and their victims.
Fear is the key to the piece; vampires have apparently been a Balkan explanation to children for the disappearance of massacred people. Yet fearfully, and surprisingly, this promenade, and somewhat site-specific piece uses abstract verbiage to an extent most conventional theatre scripts would never dare. Howard Barker at his (almost) most profuse could appear plangently coherent by comparison.
There are various bumps and thumps as the audience travels in its tracks, stopping to listen to the narrative outpourings from headphones*. Eventually the three ways separate and (I can’t speak for the others) there’s a meeting with an actual person, allowing for a bit of conversation. It’s the only time the participatory becomes interactive. For a few minutes, in place of being passive (if often mobile) receivers of content, there is a genuine sense of two-way danger. I had no idea what would happen, but neither did my interlocutor know if his words would be met by an impro-mad performer, someone who’d giggle confusedly, or be astonished into silence.
Finally, some polythene-screened video and an energetic fellow who seems to end at the waist. Scooting rapidly around, as soon as he became still, he looked to be standing in a deepish hole.
All quite intriguing, but inconclusive.
Quinn: David Toole.
Voice of the Glitch: Oliver Senton.
Ralph Dyer: Alexander Winterkamp.
Alex: John Carter.
Anne: Lucy Ellinson.
Milo: Richard Warburton.
Vampires: Dan Watson, Patrick Young.
City Night Tours Hosts: Lucy Hind, Victoria Pratt, Dan Rollings.
*No audience member is harmed in the performance of this piece.