Imagination and dedication are to be found by the truck load at the Tristan Bates Theatre, but the morning after the night before left me thinking what could have been.
One By One is the latest production from performance arts group, ONEOHONE Theatre Company. Directed by artistic director Asia Osborne, One By One is an immersive theatre experience set in and around the streets of central London which examines data, the usage of it and just how out of control things could get if we’re not careful.
You are the only audience member at your show, and once you enter, you follow a narrative which can be slightly changed depending on your responses to the people you meet. Each actor, I won’t even say how many, believes in what they’re doing and it shows. Although sceptical beforehand, I felt myself quite heavily buying in to the story because of how much the cast had, and this letting go made my experience more enjoyable, creepy, and it gave me much more to talk about on the way home than most theatre does.
It wouldn’t be fair on those who are going to talk too much about what happens, but there is certainly room here to compliment the cast for helping to create six engaging, and at times thrilling, shows an hour while navigating the busy streets.
At times the story was a little disjointed as the struggle to find the line between giving too much information, and letting you discover the story for yourself, was fought between the evening revellers and traffic. Immersive theatre is still too hit and miss but with experimental work like this supporting the genre, then I’m confident in its growth.
Using the oldest art form, storytelling, to build a vision the future isn’t radical in itself, but their use of technology to create a more holistic theatre experience is. This use of mixed media means that you end up living half the story in your head as you try to figure out what is in store for you next.
The terrific cast were let down by the initial surroundings. Your experience starts at the Tristan Bates Theatre (which has a lovely looking café for anyone who decides to walk around in the rain looking for a non-chain coffee shop without realising the café is there), quite literally at the theatre.
The rooms you’re in, the corridors you walk down, they’re the rooms and corridors of the theatre and so I really struggled to focus on the One By One experience until I was out pounding the streets with the actors, and seeking and giving information.
I would have loved to have seen this receive some of the financial backing that other plays get. In its own purposely set space, the experience would have been all that the cast and director deserved it to be.
One By One is only on until Saturday 9 May, but ONEOHONE are a theatre company to keep your eye on over the coming months and years. They don’t just think out of the box, they hack the box and leave it in a corner thinking to itself, “damn…I should have been paying attention”.
One By One
Tristan Bates Theatre
4 – 9 May
For more information, and to book your tickets, visit: http://tristanbatestheatre.co.uk/whats-on/one-by-one