Theatre Review: The Party’s Over at Nottingham Lakeside Arts
On a murky summer’s evening, an audience at Nottingham Lakeside Arts was invited to take a break from the illusion of normality. The Party’s Over, a new performance from local cultural studio Nonsuch, lured viewers into the space between sleep and wakefulness, flashing before our eyes in a mesmerising whirlwind of sand, sensuality and uncertainty.
Immersive theatre at its best, the performance had similarities to French theorist Antonin Artoud’s idea of the ‘Theatre of Cruelty’, a performance style which aims to dive into the audience’s subconscious and wake up the senses. Highbrow theatrical theory aside however, as the lights went down and a crescendo of exotic music began, all semblance of the everyday world dropped away for the next 75 minutes.
Enticed into a sensuous journey, the audience are forced to peep into the tumultuous mind of another as they follow Peter, an ordinary man lost in a barren space of uncertainty. His existence is fast paced and unfulfilling, with hands to shake, papers to shuffle and a briefcase to desperately cling to, but an uncomfortable desire lingers.
From a pile of unassuming sand (the only prop on the bare stage) emerges a woman. Wild haired and unrestrained, she has a rose and a dance for Peter. When joined by three others, they descend as a mob whose only purpose is to wake him out of his day-mare and lure him into their world of uninhibited dance, freedom and release. Their carefree playfulness is punctuated with threatening whispers and shrieks, but nonetheless both Peter and the audience is tempted to join their vivacious gang. What follows is a wild and exotic ceremony to break down Peter’s stiff disposition and awaken the primal nature which has been forgotten.
A powerful blend of Latin and Middle Eastern music complemented the desert-like stage perfectly, bringing to mind the exotic decadence of far flung places. Enveloped in the darkness of the theatre, the bursts of light gave life to the sand and glitter which were used throughout to amazing effect. The simplicity and impact of these integral features was immense throughout and without them The Party’s Over would not be the feast for the senses that it is.
The Party’s Over was two years in production and is now set to tour national and international venues in 2018. A brilliantly dark lesson in living that brought light to a gloomy summer night, I highly recommend you join the party while you can.
Follow The Party’s Over and Nonsuch: #NonsuchTPO www.nonsuch.com