As you enter the small, atmospheric venue of Studio 2 at the Warren, you are greeted by four faceless suits on stage. Immediately, the tone is set for an intriguing, impactful piece of original theatre, with absolutely no dead air.
Follow Suit is an abstract and engaging 45 minute-long show. Performed by Silent Faces, a group made up of Goldsmiths University alumni, it’s a dynamic, scathing comment on the unscrupulous way in which big business dehumanises and degrades.
Every segment is a visual feast, as mime and mayhem dominate. Each of the four main players are incredibly impressive, not least for their ability to pull some of the most comically grotesque expressions you’re likely to see at the Fringe. There’s very little dialogue, and the actors rely on their physicality to communicate, which they do so with expertise. The opening scene is particularly arresting. Marvel as the faces in front of you slowly twist and change into ghoulish, distorted masks – slower than you can comprehend. Each performer brings their own unique quality, and there’s always a captivating sight to gawp at on stage.
The house lights are up for the entirety of the performance, meaning that the audience can be seen by the actors, making it feel like an interactive experience. At one point, a riot of paper air planes assault the gleeful audience – there’s practically no boundary between actors and viewers.
Despite a minimal set, consisting of four chairs and four tables, the space is used to the maximum. The imposing metal cabinet at the back of the stage plays a dark role – filled with mysteries, sins and unspeakable horror, covered up by drones who are powerless but to follow suit.
Though the subject matter, a comment on the victims of ruthless profit, and the perpetrators of commercial violence, is weighty, it’s by no means heavy-handed. Viewers are invited to scrutinise the clowns before them, and are asked to come to their own conclusion. Tension is built by stealth, and it’s a dark, powerful finale that creeps up, leaving questions sure to resonate.
It’s a fantastic show, and a testament to just how creative and innovative the very best of theatre can be. Ever-changing and energetic, it’s almost bewildering to see something so fun, that simultaneously feels so important. Follow Suit demonstrates that powerful ideas don’t need bells and whistles – just four tables and four chairs.
Review by Lucy Menzies
A madcap frenzy of physical comedy with a political bite. In this absurd office, nothing is more important than avoiding the skeletons in the stationery cupboard.
Leap on the desks. Experiment with origami. Orchestrate a four-part symphony using spreadsheet data.
It’s business… but not as usual.
Using physical comedy, Silent Faces’ debut production highlights the responsibilities that corporations so often neglect and gives a darkly comic take on the chaotic world of big business.
Right – Jen Wakely
Well – Megan Smyth
So – Cordelia Stevenson
Okay – Adam Deane
Man – Sandy Underwood
Woman – Josie Underwood
Directed by Josie Underwood and devised by the company
The Warren, Studio 2,
27th – 30th May
Time 2.45pm (45 minutes)
Interval – No
Tickets available from – Brighton Fringe Website
Company Twitter – @SilentFacesUK