By the End of Us, Southwark Playhouse, 7 June
Block Stop‘s By The End of Us is basically a live video game. As a result it doesn’t attract your usual theatre audience and is a great introduction to immersive theatre. There is a level of intimacy as part of the game but it isn’t so intimate that you feel uncomfortable.
There are two options; the single player, who guides assassin Mia Culpa (Melanie Grossenbacher) to her target, is based upstairs in the theatre whilst Mia is based in an external location. The target is Cali (Ilayda Arden), an ex-employee of Gearsep who is at the location to meet with a journalist Harry (Kal Sabir) with information. The other option is to be a multiplayer as part of the audience. Issued with keypads the audience have to stop Mia in getting to Cali through a series of multiple choice questions working with Sam Cassick (Daniel Thompson) who is based externally with Mia and Oli Black’s character based in the theatre. As an aside the single player was someone I knew (I recognised her voice and had no idea she had signed up) and I was a multi-player, which made me torn between my friend doing well and the multi-player audience I was part of doing well.
This is my second time at By the End of Us and it is a story you cannot get tired of. There are multiple endings and options; I suspect each show is very different due to outcomes and improvisational dialogue available. The actors are also technically involved and it seems miraculous that the technology, from the keypads to the video link, is so reliable. It can be fun as much as it is frustrating.
This is only on until 11 June but I would recommend seeing this or any other Block Stop production as it makes a change from the passive experience many associate with theatre productions.