I attended the press night opening of Javaad Alipoor’s Rich Kids: A History of Shopping Malls in Tehran at HOME Manchester. The show is co-created by Alipoor along with Kirsty Housley. Both took centre-stage to guide the audience through an immersive and interactive digital journey.
I knew the production would be unlike anything I had seen before, and I didn’t really know what to expect, despite having interviewed Alipoor previously. Before entering the theatre, the staff requested audience members to follow an Instagram page carefully curated for the show. This account was to be a central digital prop which created a very interactive and collective atmosphere. The creators even gave a disclaimer at the start of the show, explaining that it would not be a problem if the phones went off since that a was part of the show.
The premise of the production is based on a car crash involving the children of the Iranian elite. The show traces the accident back through history to reveal a multitude of different perspectives and events. The two creators complimented each other very well on stage and conveyed a lot of passion about the topics in discussion. The production dealt with very intriguing and interesting topics such as the presence of the rich on social media, the history of Iran’s revolution, the stark differences between political figures and their children across the world, and climate change.
The multi-media show drew upon images and videos from the Instagram account, as well as music. Peyvand Sadeghian utilised Instagram’s Live feature numerous times during the show, and the echoing of her speech from the phones of the audience created an encompassing effect. It was certainly a uniquely experimental show, and refreshing in the new methods and techniques it employed onstage.
The show was definitely very thought-provoking, and by the end of it, I was left with an acute sense of confusion regarding all the different topics that were discussed. At certain times during the production, I lost sense of where the story was heading, and during others I was completely drawn into the narrative. Mark Fisher, writing for The Guardian, described the show as: “Dazzling, discombobulating and alarming,” which sums up how I felt by the end of it. I believe it is definitely a production that everyone will find something different in.
Rich Kids will be running at HOME Manchester until 2nd November. Enjoy this unique show, and immerse yourself in an interactive production.