The Architects

V22 , Bermondsey Saturday February 2 2013 15:00
The Architects

The two large scale shows that performance collective Shunt has produced since leaving its former London Bridge space are both satirical pieces about man's hubris that are, in themselves, pretty good examples of man's hubris.

In the case of 2009's gloriously messy 'Money' this wan't a problem: while it was often impossible to work out exactly what was going on in the perabulatory piece, the mad ambition of the astonishing immersive set effectively served to justify the obtuse parable of capitalism gone awry.

Follow up 'The Architects' also has a pretty cool set: after a short wander through a wooden maze, the audience arrives in a huge room that's been mocked up to look like the lounge of a cruise liner, complete with portal windows, a functional bar, and a live band (who seem to play Britpop, oddly enough).

But where 'Money' has a sense of exploration and immersion, here – sat in a freezing former factory – we're largely bystanders.

At the start of the 'cruise', a quartet of performers talk us through the impossible decadence of the voyage we're about to experience, with every possible whim catered for, be that the usual leisure activities (pilates, etc) or the possibility of not only swimming with the dolphins, but also shagging them. As a series of flash-forwards propel us through the increasingly feral voyage, 'The Architects' settles into a slight but enjoyable absurdist rhythm.

What it desperately needs is a big finale to justify the £25 a pop price tag, to pay off the tantalising hints at something darker and deeper; what it does is fizzle out bathetically, the climax simply a bit of pedestrian rope work from a pair of acrobats.

It's not a horrible evening, but it is a flimsy one. There are frequent suggestions of a much more intelligent and unsettling show lurking in the background, but they're not realised well enough in a show that feels like it doesn't yet have an ending.


Venue name: V22
Address: F Block
The Biscuit Factory
SE16 4DG
Opening hours: Thu, Sat, Sun noon-6pm; Fri noon-9pm
Transport: Tube: Bermondsey
Price: £20-£25
Event phone: 020 7452 3000
Event website:
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