Wednesday 11th March 2009
From the point of view of his canine brain, Pirate Dog lives life as a total immersive experience. Detachment is not his strong suit. So when I told him about Adam Brace’s brilliant new play, Stovepipe, which has just opened in a highly atmospheric space under a supermarket in Shepherd’s Bush, he wasn’t impressed. It’s a piece of total theatre, I raved. So what?, he yawned. Well, there’s a real plus to theatre put on outside regular venues. Somehow, your senses are heightened because of the novelty of a new place, and a promenade production keeps you on your feet (often literally) and challenges the somnolence that comes from habitual viewing. In the case of Brace’s play, the spooky quality of the space, and the way it kept opening out into new areas, added to a sense of danger in this play, which is set in the Middle East. The discomfort of the space mirrored perfectly the themes of the play. It took its audience on a real journey, both in its writing, and in its location. Isn’t that what all great theatre should do?