Immersive theatre requiring audience participation is always a risky option for theatre companies, you hope and pray for an engaged audience but its always a gamble – will the audience participate or with the infamous British reserve kick in and see them sit there in silence?
non zero one’s The Time Out pushes this concept to the limit. Staged for just 12 audience members at a time, a group of strangers enters a locker room to be told that in nine minutes 39 seconds they will be taking part in a water polo match. Can you rely on the other 11 people around you and how do you build team morale form a bunch of strangers in such a short time-scale?
Ok so it takes slightly longer than nine minutes but by the end of the piece the team have gelled into a pumped-up team ready to tackle anything. Through clever use of motivational talks, audio and team bonding exercises you and your fellow team mates are encouraged to share your skills and failures, learn more about their hopes and fears and ultimately get ready to take on any opposition.
Perhaps the lively nature of festival audiences make this more likely but The Time Out is so engaging it is hard to resist. The audience participation handled so subtly that one never feels pressured or embarrassed. This is an early preview performance ahead of a run in Edinburgh but it already seems an accomplished work.
Any show that manages to convincingly make its participants forget they are sitting in a tent in the middle of a Suffolk park, not an actual locker room deserves credit and The Time Out is delivered with such conviction and charm that it instantly wins audiences over. This is one show that you can’t help coming out of feeling uplifted and motivated. A dozen strangers enter and come out as a working team – if the show ever runs out of theatres to perform in there is surely a market here for corporate team building.