This grotesque macabre piece has no seating arrangements, the audience being scattered around the Red Room, a dark and decaying boudoir of a space specifically created for the show, by actors painted up with black and white faces who take coats and bags, chatting away in their bizarre characters. It’s a perturbing introduction and sets the tone nicely for the show.
What follows is a curious hour of theatre. The actors throw themselves around, distorting and contorting their bodies in spasmodic movements, with effortless ease of physicality. Audience members are danced with, brought into scenes and generally forced into this disturbing gothic freakshow of a world that the cast have created. It’s a well-executed piece of immersion theatre and shows great imagination on the company’s behalf.
However, despite the voyeuristic joy of watching these weird figures there’s something missing in the writing. It is apparent what writer and director Nikolaus Morris is going for in his exposure of decadence, control and the animalistic urges of humans, but there is a lack of clarity in the communication. By the end any chances of grasping at exactly the meaning is has been lost in a script that could do with more tightness and precision in its wording.
The Park Keeper is one of a series of five plays by Belt Up and this company’s ambitions and obvious talent mark them out as a group that can only get better as they