Out of This World, FTE, Review

Rating (out of 5)
Show details
Mark Murphy’s V-TOL
Mark Murphy (writer and director), Becky Minto (set and costume design), Lizzie Powell (lighting), Nathaniel Reed (sound design and composer), Alex Palmer (rigging design), Dr Nick Crombie and Dr Konstantina Karabatsou (medical research consultants), EJ Boyle (associate artist)

Scott Hoatson, Sarah Swire, Catherine Cusack, Itxaso Moreno, Anwar Russell
Running time

Theatre maker Mark Murphy is known for his large- scale work in Scotland from being part of Glasgow’s time as European Capital of Culture in 1990 to his recent success with the 2014 Commonwealth Games Closing Ceremony, also in Glasgow.

In a return to the stage after a lapse of ten years and marking the re-launch of his company V-TOL, Murphy brings his latest show, Out of This World, that was developed and rehearsed at Macrobert Arts Centre in Stirling. Comprising a mix of stunning projected film animation, special effects and impressive aerial choreography, Out of This World is a medical drama about a newly married woman, singer songwriter Ellen Jones (Sarah Swire), who is in a medically induced coma following a road accident.

Ellen’s dealing with the death of her new husband and her own near death are part of the unravelling of the confusion of her life while she is comatose. The non- linear narrative is part of that confusion as the fact of the car crash does not come to light till some way in to the performance. As a singer, Ellen becomes increasingly stressed before going on stage. She is dependent on support from her new husband, appearing to be on the way to some kind of breakdown and during this time breaks the fourth wall to speak directly to the audience asking who she is; who her husband is.

Murphy’s production turns the total disorientation of an unconscious mind inside out through his use of some pretty mind blowing kaleidoscopic visuals accompanied by eclectic music from Nathaniel Reed that can go from hi tech to heart wrenching cello. The arresting impact of these and Becky Minto’s set of suspended blood bags and chairs on pulleys is in stark contrast with the interspersed scenes containing dialogue, that weaken rather than strengthen the play.

The spectacle of a rescue helicopter done through projection and truly dramatic aerial work has stark comic book impact. The pretty awesome aerial skills of Swire, some quirky walking on walls and striking lighting effects make Out of This World an impressive piece of visual and physical theatre that by far outweigh the spoken parts. The play’s thin and clichéd dialogue, that’s full of rather annoying repetition, detracts from the impact of the work rather than augmenting it.

Tue 23 + Wed 24 May, 7.30pm age recommend 14+

Tour continues:

Fri 26 + Sat 27 May, 7.30pm, Northern Stage, Newcastle

Tue 30 + Wed 31 May, 8pm, The Lowry, Salford Quays

Fri 2 June, 8pm G Live, Guildford

Tue 6 + Wed 7 June, 7.30pm, Oxford Playhouse

Fri 9 + Sat 10 June, 7.30pm, Hall for Cornwall, Truro