A keystone of cabaret, audience interaction is being adopted more and more by fringe theatre. A new production from Stamp Collective puts the focus on the audience leading to a potentially different show each time.
In a sense, this is an interactive theatre piece about capitalism. We, the audience, are new recruits at a large firm called Moralgorithm, and it is our job to come up with new ideas and products, until we’ve earned enough “cookies” to take the holiday of a lifetime…literally.
We’re ushered around an office building where we’re chastised repeatedly by the scary boss, reassured by the assistant, and probed for ideas by mechanically minded drone-women. Anything you say gets regurgitated back to you in a future product demo, which is a little unnerving when you first realise it. But fear not, because there’s a revolution brewing, and it’s down to you, the new recruits, to make it a success.
The reason this is only a play “in a sense” is because if that were entirely true, it wouldn’t be impactful enough. What you have instead is the opportunity to play for an hour. The performers allow plenty of wiggle room to let all participants show their personality, which isn’t always welcome in some other immersive shows. You could imagine that if you were to do it again, it would be quite different.
The hardwired workers, such as Trellis, who looks after the nature section where we got to do some finger painting (and incidentally invented “Monet-stagram”), are great fun to banter with, and manage to get something out of everyone. The problem is, the audience are really getting into the revolution when the denouement comes suddenly and all too soon. It could easily have run for another half-hour or so, just to allow the audience to try the toys at every station.
But still, it’s perhaps better to leave wanting more than feeling drained – like you’ve just spent the day in an office from hell – which as it turns out, is actually rather fun.
Moralgorithm by Stamp Collective. Theatre Delicatessen (35 Marylebone High Street, London, W1U 4QA). Wed 13 Mar – Sat 23 Mar, 19:30. £10 (£8 concessions). www.stampcoll