The press conference is a fascinating facet of our popular culture, the first port of call for both politicians and civilians as the fate of our futures are outlined. A defining element of our lockdowns, the 5pm daily briefings would allow for the nation to be notified about next steps, and measures taken to address our unique time period. Examining our current political climate, both on a national and international level, theatre company Rhum + Clay present Project Dictator, an observation on the impact of authoritarian rule.
Duo Matt Wells and Justin Spooner take it in turns to explore the concept of leadership and how this has manifested itself, Wells your more put together, well rehearsed politician who’s pursuit of ‘How to Solve the Problem(s)’ causes a disconnect. Spooner’s outrageous approach a more of a wanting to connect with the majority and on ‘the show’, the performance and grandeur of taking on an authoritarian role. Immediate and relatable to all, we’re left pondering how best to resolve the pertinent issues we face and how best to communicate and collaborate, the pair polar extremes of one another, as if they both contribute a sort of middle ground.
A humorous first half, taking on a more light hearted approach, the evening abruptly descends into a harrowing observation of authoritarian regimes and the impact that this has on its civilians, sequences including The Shadow and The Goodbye portraits on the restrictive, isolated, helpless nature of this. Wells and Spooner’s powerful use of clowning a complete contrast to the show’s first half, speech now taken away, movements the cast’s main mode of a communication – Khaled Kurbeh’s ethereal, electronic compositions cleverly placing us in a non descript part of the world, Project Dictator an incredibly pertinent piece of political theatre.
Review written by Lucy Basaba.
Project Dictator is currently showing until Saturday 30th April 2022 at the New Diorama Theatre. To find out more about the production, visit here...