Can you keep a secret? Good, because I certainly can’t! So, let me tell you about Lyric Hammersmith‘s worst kept secret currently touring the UK. Secret Theatre has 6 shows on tour, each named by their number and audiences have no idea what show they are about to see until the lights come up! This is quite an un-nerving way to watch theatre, but in the case of Show 2 it was also very rewarding. Not to give the plot away, but Show 2 is a creative and contemporary version of an old American classic. I have to say this was quite a surprise as I was expecting a new piece of writing.
The show uses a very Brechtian style of performance, with characters moving set pieces, visible lighting, sounds coming from speakers and even seeing a character ‘put on’ her pregnant belly! The stage starts off as a blank canvas, nothing but two white blocks and a ladder, which means nothing is given away until the show begins! Slowly the scene begins to take shape more and more as the actors bring on set pieces and props, whilst still allowing a certain amount of imagination to come from the audience.
The actors in Secret Theatre are, in word, fearless. And not just for performing to an audience who does not know what they are about to watch! On-stage they strip, have water and food thrown at them and even hang from the walls. Their energy and boldness gives new life to this classic drama making it fresh and exciting. However, they also perform in a very realistic way, they use their own accents as opposed to American ones and there is no hysteria during the violent scenes until Act Two. Even with the sparse staging the actors are able to make you believe in the surroundings and the action taking place, a very talented cast indeed. If you love new spins on old classics or just want to take the plunge and watch a show you know nothing about, then I highly recommend you take a chance on Secret Theatre: Show 2.
Review written by Charlotte Claydon.
Secret Theatre: Show 2 is currently showing at Oxford Playhouse until Saturday 13th September. For more information on the production, visit here…