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The Oracle at Camden People’s Theatre

Dressed in a suit that is reminiscent of a televangelist, but with added flair and thanks to Sophie Lincoln, Julia Pilkington is The Oracle. In a dimly lit, like candlelight glow, Blackbox Theatre of the Camden People’s Theatre I was given an eerie feeling about where the collective future of the audience was heading. It was surreal. And the pacing and supernaturalness of it all reminded me of the film and now FX show, What We Do in the Shadows. After the booking of the show, I was aware I’d be part of a ‘group reading’, but I wasn’t sure what that really entailed. I found that The Oracle is like a character-based stand-up routine.
The Oracle at Camden People's Theatre
The audience is greeted by an obviously very old, and semi-divine, being who radiates charisma that’s similar to the depiction of a classic con artist. Which some would find fitting. There are funny props, like a set of ghoulish drawers and a phone that reach fate themselves, and Pilkington uses these to her full advantage. It is clear throughout the show that the future is bleak, and this is solidified through an accidental prophecy The Oracle has. And throughout the rest, she is having an internal crisis about what she has seen. She tries to skirt around the elephant in the room, by talking about personal problems and the uncomfortable nature of her is a unique opportunity for humor.

Pilkington uses this by pulling the mic away from the crowd of participants before they can speak, and instead, she changes the topic. Also, she performs other fortune-telling techniques, like sacrificing a lamb. The combination of very funny props and sounds, thanks to Nathan Geyer, with Pilkington’s incredible timing and awkward demeanor is just hilarious. I am honestly shocked this show is considered a work in progress. It has a timely but unique premise and seems to be quite heavily practiced, due to Pilkington’s on-point performance. The laughs come smoothly one after the other. I hope to be able to see this again, just as is, or after any possible improvements have been made, but overall The Oracle is something eerily spectacular.

4 stars

Review by Elisabeth Beer

O is in crisis. Whatever she does – read tea leaves, read entrails, even read the newspaper– the results are the same. Something sinister is coming. And it’s not good for business.

Immortal and unanchored from a previous age where she was once revered, the Oracle is lost in the modern age and lacking purpose.

Sat 11 Mar at 9pm

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