Saturday, 5 December 2009


I went to see Make Believe by Quarantine at Exeter Phoenix on 1 December. It's a piece of devised theatre performance, a patchwork of stories that must be the stories of the performers themselves, each taken over by other performers and thus turned into fictions presented both as fictions and lived experience. This teasing mix was the main pleasure as the show developed and I liked the changes in pace and mood as it went on. 
    Having opened with one performer telling a personal story that couldn't have been her own, then another, then each of the other performers taking over, it moved on to music and dance, showtime, dressing up, working with a toddler onstage and not onstage, more music and dancing and a big slice of audience involvement. Some of the best theatre events I've seen (and this was one of them) have that quality of theatre cut down to essentials. I've seen it recently in work by Chris Goode and by Lone Twin.  In Make Believe the stripped-down set really works for the production, the curtains used with the panache of Morecombe and Wise, tech crew on view at the side of the stage, wonderful use of music, every aspect dovetailed into the current story. I really loved this show and will look out for their future work.

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