Tuesday, February 27

Peep Show Battle Royale – MAKE, North Docks, Liverpool

Step into a future where the world’s leading game show presents the latest in entertainment: a live show where its contestants-turned-gladiators look to destroy each other across a series of games with their ultimate fate decided by the votes of a live audience. What’s not to like? Get into your booth and let the fun begin…

This is immersive theatre taken to a new extreme and whilst it seems initially distasteful in its voyeurism, it is curiously addictive at the same time. As our artificial host, A.I.M.E.E, gets us settled before Sarge (Duncan Cameron) appears to introduce us to tonight’s contestants (Carmen Arquelladas, Leebo Luby, Miwa Nagai, and Simone Tani) and then the games begin, dark and comedic in equal measure.

Sat in isolated, grungy booths which encircle the action, the audience vote upon the likely outcome of each game to win points which means prizes for those who get the most right, with the fun very quickly becoming a frenzy as the audience are driven towards the ultimate dare in what’s in the box.

There is a keen sense of improvisation and physical theatre that one comes to expect from Teatro Pomodoro, and they do not let us down along with superb choreography from Maria Malone and the costumes designed by Arquelladas a touch reminiscent of A Clockwork Orange. There is strong support behind the performance with the lighting design from Phil Saunders playing across a set designed and constructed by Michael Lill and Andrew Lock, whilst Dennis Outten’s virtual set plays host to animation from Jessica Windell, James Hooton, and Cameron.

Combining these as a whole and with some thoughtful audience interaction, we are quickly and cleverly drawn into this ‘other’ world and it’s not too long before our normal sensitivities have subsided to be overtaken by our inherent competitive streak and urge to win in a manner not dissimilar to Lord of the Flies. The reality at the end is quite a wake-up call: as much as this is of the future it is also very much of the now and a timely reminder for us all.

The warehouse venue is suitably bleak and as such focuses the mind more intently into the gladiatorial arena of lights, cameras, and action. Wrap up warm but blankets are also provided.

Peep Show Battle Royale performs twice daily at 17:30 and 20:00 on 11th – 13th and 17th – 20th February at WAKE, North Docks, Liverpool. Tickets available via https://www.teatropomodoro.com/peepshow

MAKE CIC is a social enterprise, maker space and workshop based in three locations in the Liverpool City Region, including the Baltic Triangle, North Docks, and Hamilton Square, Birkenhead. A place to play, make and fix; bring an idea and take away your invention.

Reviewer: Mark Davoren

Reviewed: 10th February 2022

North West End UK Rating: ★★★★