by non zero one.

Barbican Silk Street EC2Y 8DS To 16 May 2010.
Various times sold out check website for returns and times.
Runs 1hr No interval.

TICKETS: 0845 120 7550.
Review: Timothy Ramsden 26 April.

Walking with a monologue.
Theatre, I’m told, is about people entering a room as strangers, and becoming bonded by the act of performance. Its dynamic depends on the interaction of actors and audience.

So how come I spent an hour wandering by myself around the Barbican strapped to headphones, following instructions from someone I never met? Does the definition of theatre need redefining?

Royal Holloway alumni non zero one’s title is dead centre to the piece. At any time, six people are making their way around the Barbican. Voiceovers instruct each where to go (often this is satnav-theatre), only occasionally being ambiguous (watch out for the word ‘opposite’ Alex).

Yet the young alumni make assumptions, at least in my soundtrack – there are six separate voices, which may vary little or much in their reflections as they must do in directions. Thoughts on life, meeting, wishing to meet, are those of the young graduate world. As they would be in a conventional play, but the presumption seems greater when directed at you individually.

Still, if these thoughts would hardly be extraordinary as speeches from a play, they merely interrupt more intriguing moments. Though a trust exercise isn’t the 50:50 risk that’s claimed (you’re aware the Barbican wouldn’t open itself to claims from people who’d leaned back on pure air), there are times this is like being in a spy movie – realising who, of the people at café-tables below, is part of this, finding someone apparently entering the space by chance is too.

And it’s fun to be involved in rather than watching a telephone ‘talk’ by paper rather than voice – then being surprised at missing people you expect to meet, because they’ve been moved on.

I nearly met one person; she approached seeming to want help finding somewhere. But she wasn’t part of the show (I don’t think). I was, and had instructions to follow. So I couldn’t help her.

Who she was, I don’t know. I think I know the name of my instructor, and it’s possible I have his mobile number. But I shan’t ring it. What would we actually have to say?

Performers: Sarah Butcher, Iván González, Cat Harrison, John Hunter, Fran Miller, Alex Turner.

Music: Robert Logan.

2010-04-27 14:50:37

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