Out There Festival
Saturday 19th September 2015 | 5.30 pm | Pitch 7, St. Georges Park, Great Yarmouth
Everyday a million moments sweep past in the blink of an eye; snatched conversations, passing images, whispered encounters.
The Lift, accompanied by three bellhops, is an elegant elevator in which some of these fleeting moments have been captured. With its comedic wit and British eccentricity this is a surreal experience you won’t forget.
In Lift we see exactly that. A lift. An old fashioned lift, with three ushers in pristine red outfits, bell boy hats and all. The chief usher explains that they are here to make us happy, to give us a ‘pick me up’… ‘a lift’. They then take us to a few floors, using audience participants to give us all a pick me up. We see a secret agent floor, a love floor and one that ended in a huge celebration. All the roles on the floors are taken by members of the audience or by the ushers.
The great thing about this show is the audience participation. The performers are clear, concise and playful with the way they use them. The audience members are never the butt of jokes but instead are made to be the stars of the show. When used, they are given clear and recognisable masks so that they are never at a loss as to what to do. The things they are given to do are funny and silly, so they enjoy doing them – so much so that in some instances they will take what they are doing further and play with the performers. It is a real credit to the performers that they are able to create such a safe and enjoyable space for the participant,s that they will take chances with what they are doing. But also, if they just want to do what they are told, that works as well. Either way, to be picked in this show is not intimidating or scary. It looks fun and I would bet that each person who took part came away happier than they arrived.
This was also down to the content of each floor, secret agents and weddings, both very recognisable for the participant and the audience. We know these worlds very well. Seeing them being played with is great and it made safe spaces for the participants to sit in.
The physicality of the performers was very precise and slightly bizarre, providing a heightened version of our world. Taking us into another place gave us a permission slip to accept the silliness and have fun.
The premise of a lift is also smart, the constant feeling of ‘what is going to come out next?’ kept us intrigued as an audience and I would guess on the street this gives people a good reason to stay. I also thought the show was a bit sinister at times which was a lovely way to undercut the silliness.
I would say that the music was slightly too loud which meant that the performers seemed to have to shout at points and some of the patter maybe seemed a little tired.
Overall, this is a joyous piece where the audience participants are the stars. This is down to the skill of the performers and the techniques the show uses to make sure they have the easiest and best experience possible.
I agree with Nick, the use of the audience in Lift was fabulous, clever and very entertaining. It was great the way they pulled a small ensemble of strangers for each new story. Never once did it feel uncomfortable or threatening. The three central performers were excellent but I disagree with Nick about some of the material seeming tired – I never thought that. For me it is the cast that foster their audience and as a result produce something that is thoroughly entertaining and brave. They are in control and as result the audience trusts them to take them wherever they wish to go. And, not only that, whoever was pulled into the mayhem gave it their all. That’s no small feat for which the actors should be applauded.
I loved the use of the recognisable stories, the lovers, the spies, and also the big crowd scene at the end, which was superbly organised and great fun. It was wonderfully silly and perfect for late Saturday afternoon festivities.
At times the music was a tad loud, which did mean the performers had to over compensate, but only a little and they coped well. And Nick is right, the physicality is precise and their clowning wonderfully entertaining and playful. The set is great, though the dance inside the lift at top of the show excluded quite a sizeable amount of people on the sides. But they didn’t leave and as the show progressed they were joined by more and more. The finale, which involved the whole audience was an absolute triumph.
When adding your comments, please feel free to challenge the writers whilst considering what you liked about the shows and what you would like to see more of.