The Development

Theatre, Interactive
3 out of 5 stars
 (© Hannah Anketell)
1/3
© Hannah Anketell
 (© Hannah Anketell)
2/3
© Hannah Anketell
 (© Hannah Anketell)
3/3
© Hannah Anketell

Join a cult in this eccentric immersive theatre/clubbing experience

I’ve been coaxed into a verbal contract with London theatre makers Soundboxed Collective that says ‘whatever happens at “The Development” stays at “The Development”.’

Fortunately, this is probably the best strategy for this immersive theatre show – good luck actually explaining an evening spent here to your pals. But it involves joining a cult and being swept up in the crowd psychology of a part-theatre performance, part-rave.

Jane (Elaine Johnson) and Jeremiah Smith (Daniel Cunningham) are the leaders of said cult, ruling the roost in its HQ, a Farringdon ‘private members’ club’ (actually a pop-up theatre, the latest incarnation of the itinerant Theatre Delicatessen). Audience members are free to walk around and interact, and all the while a percussionist adds tribal dance beats that foster the cult’s mission of ‘letting go’.

Racy and occasionally dark comedic performances and slick physical routines – particularly from our messiah, Jeremiah, who blends Charles Manson charm with Ali G rudeboy behaviour – give the piece some pace, but despite the sheer volume of blood, sweat and tears expelled on stage, there’s a distinct absence of plot development.

That’s why it seems all the more confusing when I realise I’ve given myself up to the beat: I’m swaying, chanting and even doing the bloody macarena on instruction, and I’m practically rushing my tits off, too.

The performance gives way to a rave that’s oddly more awkward than any of that immersive stuff, but on until 1am if you’re that way inclined. On the plus side, with its own bar and costing just £12 on the door, ‘The Development’ is easily a cheaper night out than Fabric just around the corner.

By: Laura Richards

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