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Attention All Passengers at Golden Goose Theatre | Review

This play becomes increasingly absurdist as it progresses and ends up out of this world in more ways than one. It starts, however, with an interesting premise – let us assume, for the sake of argument, even in these days of ‘hybrid working’, that someone like Rodney (Joe Deighton) commutes to work for forty minutes a day, a round trip of one hour and twenty minutes each weekday. According to the production, that works out at just over 298 hours a year (the stats were being called out so quickly I can’t recall exactly how they arrived at that figure), with Ann (James Nash) asking the other characters, and thus the audience, what could be achieved in that time?

Attention All Passengers at Golden Goose Theatre.
Attention All Passengers at Golden Goose Theatre.

For some, of course, it is downtime used to unwind: I still plough through newspapers in much the same way I did when I first started commuting (when the Underground finally gets around to having mobile signal installed on the deep-level lines, maybe then I’ll get my phone out instead). Here, a seemingly typical Tube journey is used as a springboard into all sorts of scenarios, few of which are interconnected, with the only detectable running theme being a desire to know what the next ‘station’ will be, which could be anything from an actual place to something like ‘hospitality’ or ‘accounting’.

Rodney is joined, in no particular order, by Janus (Elsa Rae), who is almost immediately told off by Ann for speaking to Rodney – or indeed anyone – on the Tube (but then how is the dialogue supposed to proceed?), Karen (Tallula White), predictably chastised for apparently being ‘a Karen’ (defined by the Urban Dictionary – not used in the show – as “a woman perceived as entitled or demanding beyond the scope of what is appropriate or necessary”), and Elizabeth (Faye Ziegler), who Rodney confesses his love for in a rather predictably overblown way.

While there is much to laugh at in wave after wave of bizarre antics, it is unclear where this Tube journey is going, metaphorically speaking: it lurches from one scene to the next, with previous scenes largely forgotten about. The show is relatively tech-heavy, and relies on still and moving images projected onto a large screen. Thankfully, it all moves smoothly, and the right display was always, as far as I could deduce, on at the right moment.

A smattering of audience participation comes in the form of helping Rodney to create a rowdy scene, with the cast sat in marked out seats in the front row periodically. If I had to pick a favourite scene, it would probably be ‘Dragon C—-‘, in which a dragon was so incensed by other passengers’ annoying habits she couldn’t contain herself anymore. Breathing fire into the annoying passengers incinerated them. Corporate workplaces come in for lampooning, as they have done since at least The Office first aired on the BBC in 2001. The show mostly sticks to familiar and well-worn subject matters, which overall gives it a broad appeal. Performed with energy and enthusiasm, it would have benefited from being edgier and more conclusive rather than ending on a cliffhanger.

3 Star Review

Review by Chris Omaweng

ATTENTION ALL PASSENGERS

Written by Joseph Hollas, directed by Jamie Saul, produced by Thomas Duggan and Holly Bancroft, and featuring original music by Jack Harding, ‘Attention All Passengers’ is the next brand new show by Brave Mirror.

Rodney is commuting on his daily commute: sitting on the Tube, on his way to work. But the train announcer has other ideas. As Rodney and his fellow passengers travel through sketches and songs, their final destination becomes increasingly unclear.

26-28 May 2024 at Golden Goose Theatre

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