Matthews Yard, Croydon – until 20 May 2018
A semi-regularly murder involving Lillie’s and legal highs dominate this immersive piece Land of Nod from Parabolic who also produced immersive production For King and Country and the Croydonites Festival.
Aaron Williams, a promising young student at Croydon College, has been found dead in an alleyway. His murder is very similar to four others across London but the only suspect is his adoring brother Kane (AJ MacGillivray). Do we have a serial killer on our hands or is there something more sinister going on.
The audience plays the press, you get lanyards, a press pack and then you are free to explore Croydon’s old town trying to hunt down Kane or any other clues and characters that may appear. As a Croydon resident I was already giving this show three stars for being so local.
After viewing the crime scene, where we also learned about the legal high Nod, there was some brief chaos with timings. The crime scene and the next marked location are not that close, so many participants found themselves missing an important character development, and when you didn’t miss it you found yourself clinging on to a character for dear life as there were a few marked locations.
Through luck I found myself following Kane as the rest of the crowd followed Rebecca, his girlfriend who studied at the college with his brother. He had also taken my phone and if I hadn’t recognised him from the press pack it would have been a scary situation. I really enjoyed my time with Kane, exploring a character who was always destined to make sure his brother had a better life than he did, grieving for his late mother and missing a father he never really knew. Kane’s life should have been on the up, a beautiful girlfriend, a loving brother and a career that was dodgy but that was making sure he could live his best life.
At times it is quite dark, you are wandering around Croydon, which has increasingly become gentrified but still has a reputation (we definitely saw a few real-life crimes whilst wandering around) with an actor (hopefully) and whilst the production has ensured safety in the form of mobile numbers, safe phrases and a base where someone is always based you may find yourself as I did alone as the only other participant got a mysterious phone call. She had also received a lily with a sinister message earlier that day.
The production wants to be on edge because it wants to remind it’s comfortable, middle-class audiences that for some life isn’t cosy and safe. Kane is trapped in his life, dealing nod, at the mercy of people who provide him with the drugs and desperate to escape. Something happened to him last night and he’s not entirely sure why. Could it be that he’s taking his supply or has he chosen to forget as he heads east? I was felt haunted when Kane handed me his bloody t-shirt, surely this lovely man couldn’t have killed his brother?
This is as immersive as it gets, you may not get 100% of the story but what you do see shapes your entire attitude to young people, inner-city life. Whilst I didn’t see all of the cast the audiences who took different paths seemed to love their experiences; finding labs, police corruption and “shady ladies” on their own personal journey.
Parabolic Theatre has developed this production with two charities
Lives Not Knives and Ment4 and is based on the real life experiences of those affected by knife, drug and gang crime.
Kane – AJ MacGillivray
Rebecca – Ellie Dolke
Harriet – Ellie Russo
Banks – Lloyd McDonagh
Lilith – Davinia Hamilton
Homeless Man – Sandy Murray
DCI Waterman – Angus Woodward
Peterson – Chris Scanlan
DS Kent – Owen Kingston
DC McLarren – Jason Bowler
Land of Nod is on until 20th May https://www.designmynight.com/london/whats-on/theatre/parabolic-theatre-company-land-of-nod