Trev Fleming is back with a review of Teatro Pomodoro’s latest theatre production…
The latest offering from Liverpool’s numero uno clown theatre company/gaggle of idiots, Teatro Pomodoro, is a knockout smash that surely hits the bullseye with a golden arrow.
Peep Show: Battle Royale is a comedy show for the Covid era and the future beyond. At once an entertaining diversion from the grimness that is day-to-day pandemic life and also a warning about how we could all end up as faceless cogs in a ‘Murder-for-entertainment’ machine.
Taking place at the Make: North Docks venue in the Ten Streets area there was little on the way-in to indicate what sort of show we were in store for. I’ve learnt over the years not to try and second guess Teatro Pomodoro.
As the audience are sorted into booths we are given flags, red and black, to poke through our holes and flaps; a rudimentary and faceless method of determining the fates of contestants who must battle to survive through a series of casually cruel ‘games’. Dehumanisation occurs on both sides of the screen. Contestants are reduced to stats and the audience to mere booth numbers, ensuring anonymity on all sides. It’s very freeing let me tell you! We were robbed though; turns out points don’t necessarily mean prizes. A lesson in the futility of trying to play the game against itself perhaps?
The cast give their all with numerous dance routines, acrobatics, and costume changes. With all the cast multi-rolling on stage and appearing in the hilarious advertisement interludes it’s a wonder they can do more than one a day! But with limited numbers for each performance, as both a necessity and stylistic choice, they all rise to the occasion.
The performances are enhanced with fantastic projection work from Focal Studios, the team behind the recent Chinese New Year projections on St. Luke’s Church; the retro styling really working with the near future aesthetic the team had going.
Throughout the production there were nods to the dystopian futures predicted in works such as ‘The Running Man’ – both the Stephen King and Arnold Schwarzenegger versions, the better Paul Verhoeven works such as Robocop and Starship Troopers with their dispersal of wacky and on brand adverts in between the ultra-violence on display in the main narrative.
There was even hints of the old Twilight Zone with the ending, but I’ll not spoil that for you.
If you get a chance to view anything Teatro Pomodoro does then jump at it. They are doing new things in strange spaces and that can only be a good thing. Life is a game, and they want to play the game with you.
Photo credit: Andrew AB Photography https://twittercom/Ab1kenobe