We This Way, Summerhall, Review

Rating (out of 5)
Show info
Seth Kriebel.
Zoe Bouras (director), Seth Kriebel (writer), Kristina Hjelm (lighting consultant), Tim Howarth (sound consultant).
Seth Kriebel.
Running time

We are here to play a sort of game, there is no right or wrong, no win or lose, just the opportunity to explore.

Thus starts a trip which has elements of magical realism, labyrinthine adventure , examination of the power of story telling and what feels like social experimentation.

The tale starts with us on a dark, mysterious train encountering an old man with a multi-dimensional suitcase. This has echoes of Sonica’s Tales of Magical Realism but, where that was intimate and immersive, this will see us more like maze-running lab rats.

Our narrator sits behind a desk framed by anglepoise lamps and backed by a large screen. As he tells us a story we the audience can shape it by holding up coloured glow-sticks corresponding to the screen colours to determine its twists and turns.

As we choose where we explore we encounter, ballrooms and bouncy-castles, fairgrounds and halls of mirrors, lighthouses and at the heart of the labyrinth, take on the Minotaur. There are many dead ends along the way that will see us returning to our starting point, looping through what may or may not be the same parts of the story.

At times the choices are limited to those few audience members who have different coloured sticks, the majority forced to give up control. This might result in some interesting group dynamics but it seems unlikely that people will interact, leaving another dead end. Unable to see the way ahead and having to resort to blind guesswork people still want to stay to explore further.

Those familiar with the video game Portal 2 will know the phrase “The cake is a lie”, meaning that we are chasing an unattainable goal, a fictitious motivator. Ultimately a game without the chance of winning becomes a bit dull.

This piece says something about the abiding legendary power of story telling and our capacity for imagination, where theatrical experience doesn’t have to be all singing, all dancing. It’s successful in evoking the sense of frustration and loss of control which a maze brings.

An interesting interactive experiment but one that only flirts with its mythological roots and needs further development. It’s nearer its funfair references in being theatrical candy-floss, fun but insubstantial.

Show Times: 5 to 30 (not 11, 18, 25) August 2015 at 12.25pm.

Ticket Prices: £10 (£8)

Suitability: 14+