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En Route

  • Sport and fitness
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

Stratford has had an extreme makeover since the 2012 Olympics landed, with its alien fleet of massive space-age stadiums and its gateway, Westfield, already beaming up millions of eager consumers to a better world. Stratford's Theatre Royal, which has been here since 1884, has seen it all and has responded with dry wit by commissioning this nimble alternative perspective: a mobile- and iPod-led tour of the alleyways, fetid stairwells and deserted rooftop car parks of Prelympic east London.

The broken bottles and stained ballet pumps that you encounter along the way suggest that, by night, this would be a very different journey. But in bright daylight it's a lovely, meditative adventure in iPod theatre.

You arrive at the starting point then follow clues through the streets, your head wrapped in a cloud of sound, local music and philosophical suggestions about ways of seeing. Assisted by text messages and unobtrusive human helpers, you feel like a spaced-out invader with a free pass to everywhere and X-ray powers of hearing that tune you in to the city's stream of consciousness.

There are flaws. The logistical hitches need to be ironed out. There's not much of a story to the concept. And it is a very intimate experience (it runs three times daily for groups of one, two or four, and probably works best if you go solo). It is, however, a whimsical, intriguing way to spend 90 minutes.

The show's makers – Suzanne Kersten, Clair Korobacz, Paul Moir and Julian Rickert – had a hit with an Australian version at the Adelaide Fringe. But 'En Route' feels very local: even if you live nearby, it'll slow you down, open your eyes and lead you through unmarked doors into a part of Stratford that you – and the hordes of 2012 visitors – would never discover without a guide.


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