Parabolic Theatre‘s insightful and thought provoking immersive political inspired production effectively sweeps the audience back to 1979.

(c)Russell Cobb

Taking audiences back to 1979, Crisis? What Crisis? is an intriguing piece of immersive experience that places the audience right at the centre of government and allows them to make all kinds of decisions on how to handle the potential crisis involving unions from all industries.

Written by Tom Black and directed by Owen Kingston, Crisis? What Crisis? is an extremely intense, full on experience that throws a lot of political information at the audience – much to the delight of many of those participating.But it can equally feel slightly overwhelming at times for those unfamiliar with 1970’s politics or perhaps those who don’t have so much political knowledge in general.

This being said, everything feels completely authentic particularly in terms of design that really reflects the era perfectly in every detail – from the posters on the walls through to the tape recorder and other technology displayed around the room. The authenticity also continues into the background to the situation that unfolds, written with great thought and research by Tom Black to the point that it gives you real insight into what it would have been like working in politics at that particular time and how parallels can be drawn to the state of politics today.

With each new situation, the audience are asked to think on their feet, while the cast never knowing what the audience is going to suggest next have to also adapt to the situation adding a frantic energy to the whole show as well as being completely unpredictable. While this means this keeps the show pacy throughout, it can also mean it can be difficult to completely keep up with what is happening, particularly once the audience is divided into groups focusing on different elements including economics, politics and civil unrest.

But it has to be said that the whole experience does open up very real debates and discussions about how best to handle a variety of political problems and is constantly fascinating to watch – even if some of the solutions proposed perhaps wouldn’t necessarily work in reality. There are also some lovely touches of humour – particularly if you find yourself having to talk one of the characters down from handing their music demo tape to a journalist at inopportune times.

Overall, while there are times when it feels slightly overwhelming Crisis? What Crisis? is still an immensely enjoyable piece of immersive theatre that has been planned out to perfection in terms of details and style.

By Emma Clarendon

Crisis? What Crisis? Continues to play at the Colab Factory until the 8th December.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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