Everything By My Side @ Southbank Centre (LIFT Festival 2016) Review

‘Turn off your mobile phone. When instructed and synchronised with others, head to your allocated bed. When you see the rest of the audience members ready, lie in bed next to the actress.’ A 15 minute show, seven beds, seven actresses, seven audience members and only the above audience instructions. Everything By My Side a show of intimacy, which asks its audience to jump in bed with a stranger… in the middle of the Southbank!

Everything By My Side

A production of experience, displacement and striking premise, Everything By My Side is a show that seduces, offering a one to one experience. In collaboration with LIFT Festival 2016, it embodies what it means to displace the city and inhabit it with familiar but unexpected objects.

Created by Fernando Rubio, a Buenos Aries based Argentinian director, playwright and visual artist, gives shape to a new aesthetic thought about intimacy, uniting interaction, childhood memories and subtle movement to produce an exciting opportunity, acquiring new meaning through the transformation of recognised objects and spaces. This show asks you to take a risk, to immerse yourself within an experience, not knowing the premise, the process or outcome, as a show this is exciting. 

The famous seven beds along with their own security team have become a somewhat instillation on the Southbank, but having toured from Argentina then previously Canary Wharf, I don’t think this is the first time the beds have been papped. Lying proud on the Southbank this show without even purchasing a ticket is performing, however, when invested in the performance the exclusivity of the show immediately becomes apparent. 

A woman lies next to me, I get comfortable and the woman begins to speak. We enter into locked eye contact, we stare, she speaks of growth and I feel myself immerse within her perpetual monologue. Intimate, we interlock hands and before I know it, the experience is over as if it never occurred, but I am left an audience member having just experienced something special, a temporal moment of interaction, of insight into ones woman thoughts. 

Everything By My Side invites you under the covers, shrouded with calmness whilst situated in one of the busiest places in London. Amongst the chaotic environment, nothing could be more sublime yet absurd than getting in bed with a stranger. Not only does the performance of seven individuals seem appealing, but the promise that this performance is for you and you alone, brings with it an opportunity to be selfish, to indulge and moreover to give yourself freely to an experience, just think its only 15 minutes.

It is authentic, original and visually engaging. Although, I question the shows lasting impact, I acknowledge that it is temporal moment of performance, a fluid body of work that is comprised of 15 minute performance slots. It is also important to note that the performers are all women, I want to question how would the dynamic of the experience change if there were also male performers and has this been experimented with during the devising process? Rubio, creates an intriguing show, that enlightens and interacts whilst questioning the construct of ‘the bed’, the context, circumstance and function. I leave the production inspired by the construct of displacing the audience, whist questioning the parameters of performance. 4/5

Review written by Meg Mattravers.

Everything By My Side was shown on the Southbank from Saturday 4th until Monday 6th June as part of this year’s LIFT Festival. For more information on current productions, visit here…

Written by Theatrefullstop