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Review of ALL IN by ATRESBANDES at New Diorama Theatre

Atresbandes (credit Paula Trolliet)
Atresbandes (credit Paula Trolliet)

Atresbandes Theatre Company, hailing from Barcelona, are quick-witted, strong and versatile. Their latest show, All In, performed for the first time in London at the end of their UK tour, was well received by the night’s audience for being completely random yet completely relevant.

There are some clever effects in this show; the opening being with a type of shadow people. The costume, minimal movement and lighting created such an extraordinary effect that it really did appear as if the two actors were shadows being projected on the wall. As such, the words being spoken could be tuned into with no distraction.

A few scenes later, the four performers all took the stage together in a fun scene, reminiscent of children playing ‘house.’ A lot of ‘now I am going to do this, and you have to do that’ talk which brought many laughs from the audience yet had a strong underlying message of bullying those who are different and giving into peer pressure. The ensemble work was great here, with the timing spot on, and it was easy to imagine the creative fun the cast must have had in rehearsals. This collective creativity is a process the company pride themselves on, as well as being influenced by many different genres and disciplines.

The production as a whole looks at different situations where people go against the norm. This idea was ever-present, yet elusive – not a definitive theme that you can put your finger on at the time. Each scene is seemingly unrelated to the previous, yet as the common theme runs through, it is easy to draw parallels.

The New Diorama Theatre’s projection screen was utilised well again toward the end, with beautifully mesmerising footage of hundreds of dancers performing in unison. The voiceover that accompanied the video was extremely thought-provoking and touched upon the current social and political state of North and South Korea. The depth created by the video gave the impression that these dancers were live on stage, another triumph from the lighting and visual team Cube.bz.

Overall, this production creates an hour of feeling in a dreamlike state, where the dreams are connected and yet totally different. Some dreams are crystal clear in their points, others a little hazier. All have a touch of the absurd yet they all work.

What’s lovely about this show is that the cast – Monica Almirall Batet, Albert Perez Hidalgo, Miquel Segovia Garrell and Melcior Casals Castellar – are visibly very proud and humbled at the audience’s reaction. They finished the first night in London by speaking a few prepared words about what it means to create work such as this, and how difficult it is being away from their home given the current political climate in Catalonia. The four of them give the impression of being completely down to earth yet caring about their world, something which resonates in their performance throughout.

This show comes highly recommended, and perhaps a second viewing is on the cards here, despite the short run. Really worth a watch, whether you need a political reminder or whether you just want to be taken on a journey through a few unconnected worlds and remember that you need not conform to society.

5 Star Rating

Review by H Hemming

In what at first appears an abstract selection of separate scenes ranging from stilted lunch dates in a newly-learnt language to an inventory of objects hoarded in a storage unit, the underlying theme of the individual versus the mass is revealed. As the action unravels, one character reappears, an outsider to the main group who attempts to assert his independence despite the pressure to follow the crowd. Signalling a new direction in the company’s style and approach, the show uses carefully integrated lighting, soundscapes, visual effects and video to propel its protagonist through vastly different but interconnected scenarios

A sharp, surreal and humorous exploration of the millennial condition and the tyranny of the crowd
Devised and performed by Mònica Almirall Batet, Albert Pérez Hidalgo, Miquel Segovia Garrell and Melcior Casals Castellar
Lighting and visuals by Cube.bz
Produced by Sarah-Jane Watkinson (Outer Circle Arts) and Núria Segovia, VESC (Spain)

7 – 11 November 2017
New Diorama Theatre, London
15-16 Triton Street, Regent’s Place, London NW1 3BF


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