The problem with reviewing a Shunt show is trying to explain what you’ve seen without giving anything away. Specifically for The Boy Who Climbed Out Of His Face, reveiwers have been asked to keep mum as the experience can only be fully appreciated without any prior knowledge. We couldn’t agree more.
Shunt have been taking audiences on immersive, site-specific journeys since 1998, which is 16 years further ago then you think! They are known for large scale productions, the most successful of which being Money, a show set in an abandoned tobacco factory around London Bridge in 2009. It’s surprising then, that their new show is scaled back to such an extent.
As you take off your shoes and socks (mandatory) a buzz of excitement surrounds your group. There are about 15 of you waiting outside a freight container on a dock, preparing for the unknown in an electrifying atmosphere. The Jetty itself is a brilliant mix of fire heaters, wooden pallets, beautiful live music, food and drink. But this is where it starts to get difficult.
Without giving anything away, the overall idea is disjointed but enjoyable. The normal dynamic of Shunt is smooth and almost like theatre magic in the way they transition between scenes, only here it felt a little clunky. You could hear the previous scene replaying while in the next, distracting you from the moment. The flow between scenes didn’t seem to link. Nonetheless there wasn’t a moment that didn’t entertain. There are opportunities to get more involved as an individual and the atmosphere is maintained throughout.
Your senses will be tested; whether it be by the heat of the rooms, the over-powering use of sound or the varying surfaces subjecting your bare feet. While sometimes uncomfortable it is never overly so and never once distracts you from what you’re watching, in fact, mostly these elements enhance the whole experience.
Overall we’d say go see it. Take some friends. Make an evening of it. Enjoy the bar, the experience and the sand beneath your feet. If you like Shunt then give them the benefit of the doubt on this one and if you like adventure you could do a lot worse.
14th August – 28th September