‘A humbling reflection on modern life’: PARTY SKILLS FOR THE END OF THE WORLD – Shoreditch Town Hall

In London theatre, Opinion, Plays, Reviews by Laura KresslyLeave a Comment

Shoreditch Town Hall – until 24 February 2018

A make-your-own martini and a raffle for a gorilla novelty teapot is a great way to start a show. A massive game of musical chairs is a great way to continue it. And a fair of DIY, crafts and skills workshops is a blinding way to end it.

That’s not to say Party Skills for the End of the World is all fun and games. We’re also being prepped for the apocalypse. The juxtaposition of celebrating the simple joys in life like dancing, family and the smell of fresh oranges, and learning survival skills – how to stitch wounds, throw knives and escape being tired up – is a humbling reflection on modern life. We need to find the tiny pleasures in the daily grind, but also be prepared to fight for our lives.

An ensemble cast creates striking images of good times and bad across the diagonal of a large, empty hall. The act of simply walking across the space makes a statement – we must keep moving forward, whether we’re at a party in high heels, or muddy and half dressed after an attack.

Costumes become increasingly more surreal, but make sense in the context of a disaster – wrapping ourselves in plastic sheeting may eventually be all we have left to protect ourselves from the elements. What can be seen as absurd or ridiculous in times of peace might be common sense in times of crisis.

Music and communal experience are used to reassure the audience, though, like other elements of Nigel + Louise’s show, it’s a double-edged sword. Those who we play with could also be those we compete with for food, water and shelter. The show balances on the slack line between fun and danger with skill and precision, making for a complex and provocative evening.

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Laura Kressly
Laura is a US immigrant who has lived in the UK since 2004. Originally trained as an actor with a specialism in Shakespeare, she enjoyed many pre-recession years working as a performer, director and fringe theatre producer. When the going got too tough, she took a break to work in education as a support worker, then a secondary school drama teacher. To keep up with the theatrical world, she started reviewing for Everything Theatre and Remotegoat in 2013. In 2015, Laura started teaching part time in order to get back into theatre. She is now a freelance fringe theatre producer and runs her independent blog, theplaysthethinguk.com.
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Laura Kressly on RssLaura Kressly on Twitter
Laura Kressly
Laura is a US immigrant who has lived in the UK since 2004. Originally trained as an actor with a specialism in Shakespeare, she enjoyed many pre-recession years working as a performer, director and fringe theatre producer. When the going got too tough, she took a break to work in education as a support worker, then a secondary school drama teacher. To keep up with the theatrical world, she started reviewing for Everything Theatre and Remotegoat in 2013. In 2015, Laura started teaching part time in order to get back into theatre. She is now a freelance fringe theatre producer and runs her independent blog, theplaysthethinguk.com.

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