As you are ushered from the side entrance of Shoreditch Town Hall to a small corridor and handed a raffle ticket there is certainly an air of awaiting entrance to some exclusive party, however, the eerie 1960’s psychedelic music tells you all is not what it seems.
Party skills for the End of the World is a two-hour devised immersive theatre piece exploring a non-descript apocalypse with martinis, party games and moments of spine existential horror, oh and dairy milk!
The evening begins decadently with audience members making their own martinis and being instructed on posters about how to make friends at a party. However, this soon descends into something darker as the audience is introduced to the skills that they will need in this dystopia outside the confines of the party.
The show felt very fringe like and experimental but does stand out with its fresh approach and exuberance for life. Some of the themes could have been pushed further and other parts severely edited as a speech tapping into the audience’s insecurities about life went on a little too long although I was subsequently told that this was the point, but for any self-reflective audience member, you already know your limitations and do not need what felt like 15 minutes of being told about them. The piece would have benefitted from a sense of narrative or characters that could carry you through the piece. However, this may just be a personal preference to make the show hang together – although I’m not sure that’s really the mission statement here.
Visually it was a treat for the senses with beautiful lighting and an aesthetic that perfectly matched the setting a sort of ramshackle pop glamour. Credit must be given for the cinematic soundscape as this lifted the piece throughout from club euphoria reminiscent of dance giants Underworld, to moments of impending doom, I cannot remember experiencing a show where the sound played such a pivotal role. Without spoiling the experience, the end of the show felt saturated with an overwhelming amount of options for me as an audience member, however, this was akin to being at a very cool party spilling into a labyrinth of a room where you feel like you are on the outskirts looking in a common experience for me!
Personally, a through line narrative and maybe some further exploration of theme could elevate this show to a must see. However, I had a thoroughly enjoyable evening and would definitely want to see anything that they produce in the future.
Written, Created and Directed by Nigel Barrett, Louise Mari with Abigail Conway
Running until – 24 February
Reviewer – Katie Mcleod