On entering The Pit you are offered ear plugs and notice that the audience is screened from whatever will happen on the stage with Perspex flaps. This does not bode well. Two women in blonde wigs and naked from the waist up (yes, Amazons) emerge and launch into an hour-long, undifferentiated, diatribe against Jeff Bezos and the prominence of Amazon in our daily lives. Much of it is framed by a tiresomely circular conversation with Alexa, Amazon’s virtual assistant technology. The show is punctuated with very loud episodes of electronic pop music from the late Sophie, enthusiastic destruction of a large amount of fresh fruit (hence the need for the Perspex flaps), displays of text that flash past the eye too quickly to be read, headache-inducing lighting effects, and a lot of ripped cardboard.
Jeff Bezos and Amazon are indeed ripe subjects for satire and critique. But this production misses such a broad target entirely by simply substituting strength of feeling for argument and technique, as if that were enough. There is no wit, no subtlety, no debate, and no analysis, only a violent, gratuitous, and abusive language of assertion. That seemed enough for some members of the audience who were clearly happy to have their own views simply reflected back to them in bold capitals. But for this reviewer theatre must be more than a social media echo chamber or Twitter-feed of spiralling rhetorical intensity.
I am required to award one star to anything I review, but I would award none if I could to this enervating and degrading spectacle.
- A Barbican co-production with IN BED WITH MY BROTHER
- Dramaturgy by Nigel Barrett and Louise Mari
- Design (Costume and Set) by Katherina Radeva
- Sound Design by Ben Hudson & Video Design by IN BED WITH MY BROTHER
- Photographer: Zeinab Batchelor
- Performed by Dora Lynn and Kat Cory
- The Pit, Barbican
- Until: 6 November, 2021 (10 performances)
- 1 hour 10 min. no interval