Saturday, 20 September 2014

The Boy Who Climbed Out of His Face

We recently went to see The Boy Who Climbed Out of His Face, a production by an immersive theatre company called Shunt. With a title like that you're probably wondering what on earth it could have been about. Well, I'll try my best to explain...

There is very little information about it available anywhere. All I knew was that it involved shipping containers and took place at The Jetty on Greenwich Peninsula.

The Jetty is a cool little spot just past the O2, all dim lighting and wooden crates and corrugated metal and firey heaters. It really feels like you're out on a rig.

There's a bar and a shack selling burgers, pulled pork, mac and cheese and the like, but unfortunately we didn't know this beforehand and had already eaten. I'm hoping for an excuse to go back some time though.

Entrance to the show is staggered, so we waited for half an hour, drinking in the atmosphere, speculating as to what it might be like and trying not to overhear the conversations of people who had already seen it. It is integral to the production that you don't know what to expect, so I'm not going to give too much away...

Before you enter the set, which is a network of gigantic shipping containers, you have to take your shoes off and put them in a box. You carry this with you and end up cradling it for comfort as you leave behind everything that's familiar and enter a place where absolutely anything could happen.

You make your way through one container to another, each one more unexpected than the last and affecting your emotions in a different way. I mostly felt bewildered, sometimes unsettled, but it made me laugh too.

On the way you meet characters in creepy latex masks who, instead of tying the story together, only confuse you further. In fact, there is no story, just trickery and surprise and a very clever set.

So yeah, it's very difficult to explain. It defies description, which means the only way to know what goes on is to see it yourself (it closes on 28 September). Especially if you're new to immersive theatre, I think it could be quite a good introduction. It's only 45 minutes long and Timeout is selling tickets for only £11.50, so there's no reason not to really. You have to be up for it though, and put any expectations away in that box with your shoes.

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