Theatre makers have long been pushing the boundaries around staging works but using your own bathtub as a venue is certainly a new one. However, that is where I find myself to experience This is not a Theatre Company’s ‘immersive spa experience’ Play…in Your Bathtub 2.0.
Created at the height of covid lockdowns, and directed by E.B. Mee, this participatory, multi-sensory piece is a 20minute meditation bringing in poetic monologues, classical piano music, toe wiggling and ASMR-style watery sound effects. Whilst the bath is the recommended scene, you can also opt for a footspa, shower, or even a bucket.
It’s certainly a different experience, where you bring your own props of choice that relate to a specific sense (touch – warm water and bubble bath, taste – a beverage of your choice, smell – a scented candle). Between the lilting tones of Lynnette R Freeman who narrates the piece, and Lucy Yao’s calming piano, it’s very easy to soon find yourself drifting, half-listening and half-dozing in the way that any good spa experience might induce.
At the end of the day, this doesn’t really feel like theatre. For sure it’s a good league ahead your average relaxation app not least because of its ‘home-made’ style of creation. The monologues are pleasant and soothing, yet don’t inspire any philosophical lightbulbs – “Yes is a world…love is a place” doesn’t really feel like an epiphany. And you’ll have to be pretty confident of keeping your listening device of choice away from a bubbly demise.
But it is a perfect excuse to make yourself take a time-out – whether from a packed Fringe programme, or just from the stresses of day-to-day life (especially if you’re still nervous of heading back into crowded theatres)– and, by grounding yourself within your senses it achieves its immersive aims of holding you in a moment of stillness.
Play…in Your Bathtub 2.0 is available as part of the Camden Fringe festival until 31st August. Visit www.camdenfringe.com for tickets.
Reviewer: Lou Steggals
Reviewed: 8th August 2022
North West End UK Rating: ★★★