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Theatre Review: Out of This World

13 May 17 words: Dom Henry

A bewildering drug induced dreamscape condenses into a tough decision

Out of This World

The staging for this show is a visual marvel of projection and LED screens, cunning stage lighting and gravity defying aerial wire effects. Working seamlessly together, they plunge the audience into the bewildering hospital accented dream world of Ellen Jones.

All is not well in this fantasy, Ellen with her hospital wrist band is struggling to make sense of what is real and what is not. There are visual clues hidden in the fantastic scenes, which Ellen (Sarah Spires) encounters in a recurring conceptual loop. They are increasingly hospital based, which doesn’t bode well.

When Ellen steps forward and asks us “Is anyone else confused?” we have to agree, struggling to make sense of the bewildering spectacle, just like Ellen.

From this point the hospital clues condense and we begin to understand that Ellen is pumped full of ketamine and heavyweight drugs in a medically induced coma. She and her newly wed husband having been involved in some terrible smash.

The lavish concept hinting dream sequences start to come down to earth as we get to explore their relationship and tender love through dreamy memories. It is of course pretty sad, as they reflect on their lives in the light of their grim situation, which draws to a conclusion with a very difficult decision.

This is a bold and wonderfully visual attempt to capture our gravity and reality defying capacity to dream and work out concepts in the fantastical world of the human mind, in this case awash with drugs in a coma. The production excels here, with its impressive mix of aerial rope work seamlessly mixed with stage wide projection, sound and visual.

Where it falls to earth a little is the human story, which doesn’t grab. Our empathy levels are set to ‘observe sadly’ in part due to the fact that like Ellen we are still getting our heads around the detail of what’s going on through the haze of ketamine, as well as the subject matter, which is matter of fact.

Much to like here, especially for media buffs, but the ending that emerges isn’t compelling. Good heavens they have some skills though, if ever Mark Murphy and his V-TOL team do Alice in Wonderland I will be queuing in the rain.

 

Out of This World performs at Nottingham Playhouse on Friday 12 and Saturday 13 May 2017.

Nottingham Playhouse

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