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The Development – Theatre Delicatessen, London

Reviewer: Christopher Hong

“Part gig, part theatre, part awesome night out” is what is promised by the Soundboxed Collective which created this strange mix of a performance. An oversight by the box office meant we were left in the reception area of the former Guardian group building, now the new home of Theatre Delicatessen, after a number of audience members were moved into the performance space. Not the best start. Though it turned out to be a blessing in disguise as the leather sofas are the most comfortable part of the evening. The group is then gathered in the corridor where we had to swear not to divulge the goings on inside The Development, a mix between an exclusive members’ club and a cult. Just as well since what takes place next can hardly be explained with words because of its incoherence.

The percussionist Jamie Misselbrook performs most of the down tempo electronic music with an ethnic influence. The vocal is provided by Jeremiah who possesses a reasonable voice for the music. It is not so enveloping that it becomes a gig and the awareness of it being part of a theatrical performance means it feels underwhelming as either. The absurd and silly attempt at comedy is jarring and shifts even further away from the music. Then come the elements of group therapy and other purgatory group participatory exercises which can only be linked to an attempt to force the audience to loosen up for a weekend evening of dancing. It feels naive and underdeveloped.

At least all the performers have the conviction to absolutely believe in the purpose of their work, even if it may not be obvious to the observers. It seems carrying a particular mindset might be helpful such as having a silly giggle with friends on a Friday night with the aim of dancing the night away. But then, as the blurb of the show points out, the legendary ‘Fabric’ nightclub is just round the corner. It is very difficult to see the purpose of this part gig, part theatre, part awesome night out, which turns out to be none of those things.

 

Runs until 20th December| Photo Hanna Anketell

Reviewer: Christopher Hong “Part gig, part theatre, part awesome night out” is what is promised by the Soundboxed Collective which created this strange mix of a performance. An oversight by the box office meant we were left in the reception area of the former Guardian group building, now the new home of Theatre Delicatessen, after a number of audience members were moved into the performance space. Not the best start. Though it turned out to be a blessing in disguise as the leather sofas are the most comfortable part of the evening. The group is then gathered in the corridor…

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One comment

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    Jodie Devonshire

    I totally disagree with this review and feel that I was at a different event to the one described above! This night is eclectic, thought provoking and made me investigate the deeper parts of myself – it truly made me examine the dark and light side of the human being how we can appear completely normal in one respect while hiding dark secrets and how we try to find ways to manage them. I myself have attended three times now and each time I have had a different experience – the cast are extremely talented and put all their energy into the performance making you lose yourself and actually believe you ARE under development as such, growing and transforming into a more enlightened being, like a caterpillar into a butterfly. It has the right mix of dark moments and comedy moments – with one particular moment bringing tears to my eyes at the kindness of strangers. All you have to do is look around you at everyone joining in – smiling, laughing, shouting and sometimes quietly reflective. If you are bored of going to see the usual theatre show and want to have an eye opening experience that truly leaves you begging for more then you need to see this to change your perception of the world around you.