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Credit: Maria Baranova
Credit: Maria Baranova

YOUARENOWHERE, Shoreditch Town Hall – Review

Pros: Unique in every way, with stage trickery that is bound to stay with you for the rest of your theatre-going life.

Cons: Theatre at its best but something this unconventional will not be for everybody.

Pros: Unique in every way, with stage trickery that is bound to stay with you for the rest of your theatre-going life. Cons: Theatre at its best but something this unconventional will not be for everybody. : Walking along Shoreditch High Street, no one seemed to be able to tell me where Shoreditch Town Hall was. It took me four attempts to find a passer-by who could finally point me in the direction of what was once the grandest vestry hall in London. And what a vision it still is. With huge great steps leading up to the entrance and magnificent…

Summary

Rating

Unmissable!

A mesmerising watch that will keep you guessing from start to finish. Stunningly designed and uniquely intelligent. An absolute treat for all your senses.

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Walking along Shoreditch High Street, no one seemed to be able to tell me where Shoreditch Town Hall was. It took me four attempts to find a passer-by who could finally point me in the direction of what was once the grandest vestry hall in London. And what a vision it still is. With huge great steps leading up to the entrance and magnificent columns either side, this venue is certainly not the small black-box theatre above a pub you might expect to see experimental theatre in (not that there is anything wrong with small black-box pub theatres).

YOUARENOWHERE, which can be read as ‘you are nowhere’ or ‘you are now here’, is performed by creator Andrew Schneider, an interactive electronics artist based in Brooklyn, New York. A previous company member of Wooster Group, Schneider is an OBIE award-winning performer and has taken his work all over the world. This is YOUARENOWHERE’s UK premiere, presented as part of the London International Festival of Theatre.

The performance begins with a single man on stage. As the lights flicker on and off, he shifts his position around the auditorium, never in the same place twice. On the front row aisle seat, I jump as the lights come up once more and I see him sitting right beside me, sweat pouring off his bare, costume-less chest. As he migrates around the space, Schneider combines physics and pop culture in a series of musings, tells stories, and asks questions that discuss the idea of life, death, perception and reality.

This discussion, presented at breakneck speed, is technical and complicated to understand. But it doesn’t matter: this is not a performance where every question is answered. In fact, you should expect to go away with more questions than you could possibly imagine, and you will be left trying to piece together every element of the show for days to come.

Andrew Schneider and his creative collaborators have put together an impeccable, all-encompassing multimedia piece and the use of sound and light, coupled with the provocative subject matter, is spectacular. With crashing light bulbs, timed-to-the-second sound effects and a disappearing act that will leave you gobsmacked, this truly is a work of genius. Andrew Schneider clearly has full control of the technology he uses and knows how to combine it with some of life’s most mysterious questions.

If you’re looking for a middle-of-the-road, feel-good play, a bit of Shakespeare, or a cheerful musical, then this isn’t for you. But if you’re open-minded and keen to see something new, exciting and totally different, then I implore you to give YOUARENOWHERE at try. Andrew Schneider’s show is an absolute must see. It is just a shame that it is only on for four nights, which, understandably, have completely sold out. However, if you do stumble across a ticket, grab it with both hands, expect the unexpected and prepare to be amazed.

*Unsurprisingly, this production has sold out but there may still be a way for you to take part. To find out more, email youarenowherelondon@gmail.com.

Creator: Andrew Schneider
Producer: Sandra Garner, Lingua Franca Arts
Box Office: 020 7968 6808
Booking Until: Friday 18th June

About Grace Ward

Grace Ward
Grace is a director, writer, teacher, telephonist, daughter, wife and friend all rolled into one. Being a native northerner, she moved from Yorkshire to London over 10 years ago and has never looked back. Before taking the plunge into directing, Grace studied Physical Theatre and although there's nothing she loves more than gritty dialogue, she loves it when she's surprised by something a bit more physical. A lover of all things dark and disturbing, she will be the first to put her name down for anything that is not-so-middle-of-the-road.