I get so excited when it comes to immersive theatre. I think it’s a fantastic form of theatrical storytelling that is still in it’s Caterpillar stage and I want to be at the heart of it when it goes full Butterfly mode. It’s crazy that only a handful of companies in London are currently exploring it; Colab Factory, Specifque and Parabolic to name a few.
But…I don’t know whether I can legitimately review Incoming/Exodus as a piece of immersive theatre. It’s one of those things that just blur the lines between everything so just ends up being an defined as an “experience”.
It was like a glorified board-game. One of those board-games that gets whipped out at Christmas because Uncle Darren* thinks everyone is watching too much TV and we’re not “communicating” as a “family”. But the board-game is kinda depressing and by the time the game is over you’ve missed The Queen’s speech, and Strictly and Doctor Who. And everyone’s feeling kinda bitter towards Uncle Darren. But it’s not Uncle Darren’s fault. Uncle Darren was just trying to help.
The premise was that (for some reason) the Borough of Southwark had become its own separate state and we (the audience of 8) had to fulfil our civic duty and decide on the incoming immigrants. The applicants ranged from an Iraqi refugee, with a broken leg and two dependant brothers to Dr Jagdish with a net worth of 4000,000 (which I attempted to pronounce as four thousand, thousand) and plans to open a laboratory which will provided 1000’s of jobs. It was about deciding a difficult balance of contributors and dependants without depleting our resources too much. I always knew immigration was a difficult subject, especially in a world with so many refugees, but now I have the experience off actually making these decisions. Our meeting leader cleverly identified those of us that might be pragmatic and those who are empathetic. I don’t whether my own government is too pragmatic or too empathetic, I really don’t know enough on the subject but I certainly will try to learn more. Which is an excellent take away.
On the flip side however I did get quite bored. I knew these fictional case files weren’t real so the stakes didn’t feel very high. There was also a really annoying American lady in my group. She seemed very touchy. A lot Americans seem a bit touchy nowadays – can’t think why.
The basement we were in was also very poorly lit and I hit my head on a pipe. Not cool. The rest of the Colab Factory is simply charming though!
Incoming/Exodus at the Colab Factory until May 29th
tickets are £12
*I don’t actually have an Uncle Darren