Two Stars out of Five Stars
The Coming Storm is the most deconstructed piece of theatre I’ve ever seen, and even anti-performance. A fellow student remarked “It was the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen”, and I might just agree with them. The actors continuously break the fourth wall and perform straight to the audience, communicating to them and including them in their humour. The set is simple apart from a few clothes racks, chairs and a piano on the side, but within the performance the actors arrange the set to how they like it at that precise moment. An interesting concept yes, but most of the time led the performance to seem chaotic and random. Constant unrelated costume changes and the lack of characters within the performance further emphasizes the destruction of the fourth wall, and the actors seem to be playing exaggerated versions of themselves constantly conflicting and confronting one another.
The show begins with six actors strolling casually on stage and they begin to tell us “What makes a good story”. They then intertwine stories on different topics, different issues and different themes. I say tell us, but in fact they leave the stories unfinished as each actor jostles for the focus from the audience, and having only one microphone on stage, they make the competition for their voices to be heard humorous. Although funny, it leaves audience members disappointed and even confused, as once you’re gripped by a story, it is then lost over someone else’s voice, or even live music at times.
The performance is an erratic montage of narrative, comedy, physical theatre, live music, dance, and slapstick humour. I say humour, as the audience had a very diverse response to it; some of the audience was finding it hysterical, whilst other members like myself looked on in confusion and bewilderment. Although I can see what they were trying to achieve, with their seemingly improvised performance by presenting a critique of theatre and society rather than crowd pleasing entertainment, and how they are breaking boundaries in this radical performance through their non acting style, however I just didn’t get it. Leaving the theatre I noticed I wasn’t the only one. A student studying at a drama school in Manchester said, “I felt like it was my mate’s parents drunk at a house party”, whilst the other exclaimed, “I just don’t know what to say.” I’d recommend going to one of their performances to see this style of theatre for yourself, just don’t say you haven’t been warned.
The Coming Storm ran between the 14th and 16th November at the Contact Theatre
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