Over 75 minutes, Rob Drummond presents an entertaining but also bittersweet experience that reflects on the last year.
Combining comedy, music, conversation and spoken word pieces, Rob Drummond’s new show is all about connection and reflection over the last year in which people have had to adjust to not seeing friends and family as much as they would have normally.
Directed by Richard Twyman, it feels like a very intimate performance – despite those participating and watching are doing so through screens, while Jean Chan’s designs ensures that there is a cabaret vibe through the way in which the set has been dressed with tables and three screens for Drummond to use to interact with his audience/participants.
While for the most part the show is fun and entertaining, with performances from some of those happy to participate in performing poetry, songs, comedy to make it feel like an inclusive experience, it takes on a more sombre note as Drummond reflects on the feelings of loneliness and asking about who has turned more to drink during this difficult time. It is quite a sudden switch, and while he is quick to reassure he isn’t judging – it does feel it takes away from the escapism promised in the early part of the show.
However, it could be seen that by bringing these issues into it means that that everyone will have something that they can relate to and be able to connect with other people even in this virtual way. It also allows for Drummond to really engage with his audience members in a way that might be difficult to if they had been there – he is also very open and honest about his own experiences of lockdown that makes it easier for the audience to open up to him. But there is also a surprise twist towards the end that gives the show a bit of unexpected theatricality that makes you see the show in a different light, adding an unexpected depth that leaves the audience feeling thoughtful.
For the most part it is a insightful show that is very relaxed in style but doesn’t feel as though it provides as much escapism as it was promised. The conversation could have been lighter and more focused on skills that people have gained as well as feeling a bit more positive about coming out of lockdown. However, it did allow us to feel connected with those who we have never met and relate to their experiences.
By Emma Clarendon
Open Mic is being livestreamed tonight (3rd April) at 8pm .