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There Has Possibly Been An Incident, Soho Theatre – Review

Chris Thorpe 

Directed by Sam Pritchard
★★★

Pros: An insightful look into violence and moral ambiguity in the modern world.

Cons: Extremely inaccessible and demanding of its audience. I found the staging and the general style of performance very difficult to engage with.

Our Verdict: This was very difficult to engage with. Brilliant in some ways, but certainly not easy watching.

Courtesy of Soho Theatre
I have to say, I feel a little guilty for not having loved this show. It received rave reviews in Edinburgh and The Guardian called it “utterly compelling… remarkable”. However, if I’m completely honest, I found it very hard to engage with, to the point that I was spending more time willing myself to concentrate than actually enjoying it.
I can see why it has received such acclaim. ‘There has possibly been an incident’ consists of three intertwined monologues and one interview, which all tackle very modern, topical subjects in challenging ways. The four stories are not linked in a narrative sense. However, they are all firmly placed in a post-9/11 and post-Arab Spring world and they all speak of how things never go to plan and how confusing and absurd a moral landscape we exist in nowadays.

On a bare stage, three actors – two women and a man – sit on a stage in front of microphones. They recite their stories, script in hand, into the mics. One woman describes her experience of a plane crash. The man, in a nod to the unknown hero of Tiananmen square, stands in protest in front of tanks, carrying two shopping bags. Another woman talks about the aftermath of a unspecified revolution and how the very leaders of it come to compromise what they have fought for. From time to time, the actors get up and the women interview the man – who is clearly heavily based on Anders Breivik, the Norwegian gunman who attacked innocent people including many children, as a statement against multicultural Europe and tolerance towards Islam.

The themes are fascinating and at times the writing is brilliant but I really question whether this was a piece for the theatre, rather than radio, or at least whether this was the right way to stage it. With its minimalist décor, monotonous delivery, and deliberately undramatic style, I couldn’t help but feel utterly alienated as an audience member.

I found myself having to concentrate extremely hard to not tune out of what was being said. The writing, though at times brilliant, felt often laboured, almost self-parodying. The person who I went with was in fact able to do a pretty good pastiche of it as we were discussing it afterwards, which I never consider to be a good sign.

As I say, I feel guilty for not loving this production. With profound subject matter, serious ethical challenges, and what I suppose one must call “sharp”, “powerful” writing, it should be a five-star review but it made me feel a little like a child who had been dragged to a philosophy lecture.

Please feel free to leave your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below!

There has possibly been an incident runs at The Soho Theatre until 5th October 2013.
Box Office: 020 7478 0100 or book online at http://www.sohotheatre.com/whats-on/there-has-possibly-been-an-incident

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Founded in 2011, Everything Theatre started life as a pokey blog run by two theatre enthusiasts and – thanks to the Entry Pass Scheme for 16-25 year olds – regular National Theatre goers. Today, we are run by part-time volunteers from a wide array of backgrounds. Among our various contributors are people who work in theatre, but also people who work in law, medicine, events, marketing and even psychiatry! We are all united by our love for the London theatre scene.