A virus has spread across London, there is chaos and death all around. A small band of survivors are holed up underground in a bunker, surviving, but not really living.
Enter Never Ending Night, a collaboration between Goatboy Enterprises, Upstanding Productions and The Actors Temple Studios. Performed at The Vaults in the depths of Waterloo, the stage is already preset for our story.
The start of Never Ending Night is promising. A man in fatigues and a stern manor guides us into the entrance. Selecting certain members of the audience for a dressing down we enter with a smile already on our faces. After decontamination we don on our protective suits and now we are ready to enter the bunker. The bunker is small, only two stories high with dim lighting.
Here we are treated to different acts formed in several theatre styles. We have simple tableaux, giving us glimpses into their everyday lives, in contrast to short action scenes. The scenes are a bare five minutes, often shorter. The best scenes were the beginning and ending, the middle considerably lagged in cohesion.
It was difficult to place a name to each character, and thus an actor to the character. One of our main characters is a young dancer, who has been driven insane by her current situation. All she did was whimper and cry the entirety of the performances, failing to be a sympathetic character, but rather one that grated on your nerves the entirety of the performance. The characters, and thus the scenes were repetitive, often a scene would between one female and one male character, that involved flirting, and inevitably one would reject the others advances causing upset in the groups dynamics.
The best scene involved the cross-dresser of the group, Lily, and a charming woman, who was a delight to watch. This scene was powerful, as the young woman helped Lily do her makeup. Both actors interacted well together, and showed the beauty of friendship in utter desolation.
Due to the surroundings, and sharing a wall with the theatre next door, the ability to hear dialogue was next to impossible. This made the storyline, and getting to know the individual characters impossible. There was a steady stream of confusion about which way to go next as we aimlessly wandered the bunker in search for action. There was no clear beginning and ending to a scene, leaving us staring awkwardly at the cast as we awaited our next clue as to where to head next. After heading up and down stairs for over an hour, many audience members gave up and sat down, watching from a distance .
The ending was enjoyable as it was the first time all the characters came together. As a cohesive group they decided to leave the bunker and head to Brighton in hope of carving out a life for themselves.
Immersive theatre is an evolving type of theatre, and it comes with a completely different skill set required. Never Ending Night has a considerably long way to go, however the premise does show promise.
Review by Lisa Shaw
Never Ending Night
In the aftermath of the most deadly pandemic the world has ever seen Never Ending Night is a new post apocalyptic immersive theatre experience in the depths of The Vaults, Waterloo.
An outbreak of a new disease N3N quickly escalates into a pandemic sweeping the globe and almost wiping out humanity. Under heavy quarantine a bunker was opened, to provide food and medical aid to the few remaining survivors.
Locked in the quarantined refugee section they are the only survivors in the vast government facility, scavenging to survive, creating a makeshift home for their community. Some are still searching for other survivors…
What if all your hopes and dreams for the future disappeared overnight? What if all the rules you took for granted vanished? How would you cope?
It is the ability to cling to ideas, people, fears and hopes that often cause the most pain. With the structures, cultures and institutions of modern society gone, will the unrelenting human spirit survive triumph? Will they thrive? Will they find a reason to hope?
Director: Andy Richardson
Producer: Bonnie Adair
Co-Producers: Alan Boulter & Caley Powell
Associate Producer: Caggy Kerlogue
Main Ensemble: Bonnie Adair, Tansy Adair, Antoinette Alexandrou, Adam Bone, Nelsy Casallas, Todor Todorov, Stephen Walker, Thomas Winsor and Alexander Yousri
Supporting Ensemble: Hilary Burns, Lauren Cooney, Lawrence O’Conner, Mark Phillimore and Alexandra Afryea
Never Ending Night
In association with Goatboy Enterprises & Upstanding Productions
The Vaults, Leake Street, London
Wed 23- Fri 25 Sep, 2015 7.00pm, 7.20pm, 7.40pm
Press Night: Thu 24 Sep, 7.00pm, 7.20pm, 7.40pm
Tickets £25 (£20 concessions)