The Gob Squad follow up their superb Room Service with Super Night Shot, which involves a team of performers heading out into the street with video cameras to rope passers-by into the making of a movie which is then shown to the audience.
This performance is unusual, most of the action has taken place before the audience arrive at the theatre but we get to be part of the end of the film. As the performance was due to begin, we were shepherded into line to make a guard of honour for the returning stars who are welcomed with cheers and tickertape as they film the audience, dressed only in their underwear.
Then the tapes are stopped and rewound and we are let in to watch. The first scene is reminiscent of 'Cecil B. Demented' as the gang of four synchronise watches and prepare for their mission: to save Nottingham from anonymity and banality by staging a perfectly beautiful screen moment in the city.
Each of the performers takes on a different role in the making of the film. Simon, as the hero, roams the city centre making women fall in love with him; Elyce tries to find him a co-star with whom he can share a screen kiss; Sarah finds the perfect location for the kiss and Sean, as the publicist, posts pictures of Simon around the town.
Along the way, there is plenty of time for improvised encounters with the Nottingham public in between more scripted moments such as an (intentionally, I hope) awful rap song, some dreamy staring into camera and some pavement ballroom dancing in animals masks.
No walk through the streets of our great city would be complete without an encounter with chavs and Simon finds some prime specimens who want to take part in his film. He invites them to fight each other on camera (cunning fellow) but after flicking a few V signs, they suddenly lose interest and wander off.
Sarah chooses the spot outside Lloyds Bank in the Market Square, Sean fails to induce any enthusiasm in the Nottingham public, but Elyse finds a co-star by dragging a man out of a bar on Parliament Street. As the film comes to its climax there is a hitch, the co-star needs to use the loo in the Goose On The Square and doesn't reappear. Elyce hastily tries to find a substitute but thankfully the original pops up just on cue and shares his lingering kiss with Simon, who thankfully is wearing a rabbit mask for the occasion. Nottingham is saved and the cast rush back to the theatre and film the bit with us in it.
So how did Nottingham folk appear in the film? Many seemed to think they should be paid for appearing in the film. Chavs aside, most were camera-shy or totally bewildered by the experience but those who did take part were candid and not fazed by having a camera shoved in their faces.
Those of you who read my review of Room Service may remember the two drunk girls who invaded that performance. Well, they were back, somewhat more sober but still making a dramatic entrance by noisily clattering into the Q&A session with the cast in enormous high heels. Apart from the extraordinary nature of the performance, what most struck me was the fact that the theatre was filled by people in their 20s and 30s - something I have never been before and proof that the Gob Squad are connecting with a new audience.
As I walked home, there were some Star Wars Storm-troopers hanging around outside the cinema, but after what I'd already seen that night, I didn't blink an eyelid.
Gob Squad performed Super Night Shot at the Nottingham Playhouse on 18 May 2005
Also on LeftLion:
Gob Squad's Room Service
Gob Squad Interview