What people say

Now We Can Talk 

Reviews

Heckler

Let us contemplate for a moment the purpose of theatre. Should it offer an escape from everyday life? Eke out a unique space between creator and audience? Shine light onto the parts of life that normally escape attention?

 

Now We Can Talk does all of this. As an audience member you will, quite literally, be led away from your everyday life and taken on a journey. The unusual piece is a result of collaboration between Lukus Robbins, a U.K. artist with a passion to explore technology in theatre, and five performers who saw the potential of the Treasury tunnels as a theatrical venue.

 

The show starts in the Medina Hotel Courtyard, where each audience member is given a flashlight and ushered down a dim staircase.  I’ll admit that at this point, clutching my Cheap-as-Chips torch, I started to wonder how much I should trust these performers and their occupational health and safety advisers. Was heading into the depths of a pitch-black, stone-walled abyss really a good idea?

 

It was a wonderful idea.

 

Built to store gold, and originally linked for shelter purposes with other tunnels around the city, the chambers provide a strangely intimate setting for the piece. In the darkness and musty air, every sensation is amplified: from the sounds of people breathing or water dripping, to the hairs standing up on your arms. A more atmospheric location is hard to imagine.

 

Now We Can Talk is not the show for you if you are scared of the dark. It is definitely not the show for you if you would prefer to experience theatre from a comfortable seat in the back row, with Facebook open on your phone and your mind wandering. Now We Can Talk is sensory immersion and bumps in the dark. It is a merging of actor and audience; reality and fiction.

 

Art is a subjective experience and audience members will always bring their own attitudes and perceptions to a piece. Now We Can Talk takes this notion to an extreme level. Underlying the work is the idea that everybody has a story; and indeed, the intertwining between your story and the characters’ will define your experience. You’ll emerge from the tunnels blinking in the sunlight, still mentally absorbed in the piece and looking at the world around you a little differently. If nothing else, isn’t that what theatre should achieve?

Rip It Up - Michael Coghlan

Whatever I write here is going to be different to your experience of this wonderful event. Each member of the audience will take their own individual path through part of the show. And you will doubtless experience things you have never experienced before in the tunnels beneath the old treasury, and above on the streets of the city.

 

It’s about many things, but trust and stories are central. Are you in a movie? Are you the movie? To what extent do you trust strangers? How important is touch in the world of relationships? How much are you a voyeur in what goes on around you? Just a few of the many questions you will ask yourself during and after this experience.

 

This is a beautifully crafted event where you are both bystander and participant. Great theatre! Tip: go with a group of friends and relish the post-show debrief.

Kryztoff - Miriam K

By torch-light, five individuals slowly wake up. In shadow you see another snippet of their stories. Devoid of sight, you are encouraged to meditate on the lives being lived above your head. Now it is time to talk, to share your own thoughts on various topics with one of these characters and, finally, to take a journey, literally, to somewhere that will bring it all together.

 

The structure of the show is very important and is what makes it work. The opening sequences allow you to gently ease into the intimacy of the experience.  The relevance of these scenes become apparent later and when they do it lends a pleasing completeness to the piece. The space, underground vaults beneath the old treasury building, creates a charming atmosphere which contrasts nicely with the bustle of the city. The technology utilised for the final sequence is also impressive.

 

The individualisation of the latter two thirds of the show means that the experience will be varied for different “audience” members, even at the same performance. Due to the conversational style of this major section of the show, it can be strongly affected by the willingness of audience members to engage. The onus is very heavily on the actors, to truly inhabit their characters and make the interaction feel genuine while also steering the conversation in the necessary direction for the remainder of the show to work. They appear to meet this challenge.

 

This also means that you could return again and again, and have a different experience each time. Indeed, the glimpses of the other characters that you get in the opening scenes leave you wondering what their stories might be. If you go with a friend, you might be lucky enough to find out what another of these was. However, the unknown seems to be the ultimate point of this piece – that there are so many stories going on around us every day that we don’t take notice of, which we won’t ever appreciate or understand.

 

Now We Can Talk provides an intriguing, stimulating, fun encounter for those who are willing to give themselves over to an experience.

Indaily - Patricia Herreen

The Treasury Tunnels will be the subject of much discussion this Adelaide Fringe, as the chosen site for the intimate, interactive and risqué theatrical experience Now We Can Talk.

 

Five actors, five audience members, five torches – and the show begins.

 

Participants are guided underground through the tunnels and allocated their positions within a small enclosure where the performers await.

 

More than merely “fly on the wall” observers, the audience members come face to face with the actors and have an opportunity to influence the action.

 

In different sections of the performance space, the audience weaves its way through the light and the dark, juxtaposed with shadows and reflections as they explore the many layers of meaning behind the sounds and silence of human relationships.

 

Without giving too much away, this multi-sensory experience is definitely outside the square. It challenges convention, engages in meaningful conversation and uses funky technology to support its diversity.

 

Now We Can Talk is the brainchild of English-born producer, theatre-maker and new media artist Lukus Robbins. It is an innovative and intriguing piece of contemporary theatre which is exciting, at times confronting, and definitely one to see.

Adelaide Theatre Guide - Brian Godfrey

Just recently, a good friend of mine described the Fringe as being unusual performances taking place in unusual locations. Using this as a yard stick makes “Now We Can Talk” the definitive Fringe experience.

 

The performance area is certainly unusual – the tunnels under the Adina Grand Treasury Hotel (and a surprise location). As for the performance, it is a well thought out piece of performance art that is innovative and highly intriguing for the audience participant. 

 

With an experience such as this – one on one interaction – each audience member is treated to their own special performance and story. Mine involved ‘Jason’ and his confession that money equated to happiness: he was highly successful and therefore extremely happy – all this imparted to me while, ironically, he was playing with a stress ball. I then experienced another story that helped clarify my conversation with ‘Jason’.

 

With this kind of performance and interaction, it is impossible to describe too much without giving anything away. It is the surprise element and ‘not knowing’ qualities that make for a truly fulfilling experience for the participant.

 

See “Now We Can Talk” for some true Fringe entertainment.

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