Reviewer: Deborah Klayman
The Public Reviews Rating:
Within the walls of Battersea Arts Centre are a multitude of stories just waiting to be discovered. There are laughing ladies, jars of memories, and gifts to be given to new acquaintances. These are all a part of the centre’s The Good Neighbour experience, which has been thoughtfully created and masterfully designed to be wholly exclusive and thoroughly enjoyable for all.
Logistically impressive, the BAC’s latest venture is a masterclass in organised chaos. On arriving, each group has the choice of three journeys to undertake, each aimed at a different age group. In the Young Adventurers journey the large group of participants are split in to smaller teams who then experience the production in promenade guided by one of the excellent hosts. Particularly rewarding for families, these stories are just as much fun for adults, and cleverly engage all ages whilst creating a community amongst each group.
All of the adventures are linked to the lifestory of George Neighbour, who in Young Adventurers is seeking to remember and learn his story, aided by his friend Monique. In order to help George, each team is lead to hidden and far flung parts of the BAC to search for fragments and clues. Each room has its own story, and have been spectacularly designed to compliment the outstanding performances of their occupants. Some are calming, some moving, and others exciting; with each having an informative element that runs alongside. Particularly outstanding is Kirsty Harris and Matthew Blake’s Memory Room: breathtakingly designed and both inspiring and heartfelt. Performance artist Bryony Kimmings’ Exploding Room is superb, and encourages the audience to really interact with the story being told.
This is truly an enriching experience, with all the participants feeling part of the production and eagerly involving themselves at every turn. There is a real sense of ownership of the piece, with elements that the explorers have found and contributed being woven into the fabric of the story that eventually unfolds, and the evening ended with people who had entered as strangers leaving with a strong connection to the building, its history, and with those who had shared their journey. Thoroughly enjoyable and different in the best of ways, The Good Neighbour is imaginative, inventive, and most of all a fantastic amount of fun.
Runs until 4th NovemberThe Good Neighbour - Battersea Arts Centre, London,
Tags: adventure, Battersea Arts Centre, Bryony Kimmings, Childrens' Theatre, George Neighbour, Georgina Bednar, Kirsty Harris, London, Matthew Blake, Monique Duchen, promenade, Ruth Dudman, Ruth Paton, Sarah Golding, Sheila Ghelani, Storytelling, The Good Neighbour, Tom Bowtell