Review: Crisis, What Crisis?

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Beth Whitaker as Joan

Style: Alternate (but not alternate enough!) History
Where: Praise House, Croydon
When: Until 25th May

Rating: 5/5

If you were to sit down and devise a piece of immersive theatre design to exactly coincide with my life and obsessions, you couldn’t do much better than Crisis, What Crisis.

A political drama set around the vote of no confidence in the Callaghan government you are a group of Labour advisors working at a secret location to solve the labour (and Labour) disputes that are bedevilling the government and putting your wafer-thin majority (just the vote of the speaker in it) in danger of collapse.

Ably led by David (writer Tom Black) and Joan (Beth Whitaker) you negotiate with union leaders, communicate with a worried nation through the medium of phone-ins and a far too curious journalist.

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Tom Black as David

That this piqued and held my interest might have been inevitable. That the rest of the crowd were equally invested and excited was a tribute to the wonderful work of Parabolic director Owen Kingston and writer Black.

The office space was impressively authentic, partly because the building could clearly use a facelift from its 70s heyday, but also because the team have clearly trained the eye for detail they used to such great effect on For King and Country on this late 70s period piece. Having a Welsh Barman called Reg was the piece de resistance- I swear I used to get my Friday night Coca Cola from a similar character every time I was dragged to Hackney Labour Club.

That this spoke so much to me should not put off any less-political immersive lovers. The joy is the journey and the tension here is just as well managed as it was in For King and Country. I promise you don’t need to be a political geek to get this – just willing as always to throw yourself into the action. There’s plenty to land on.

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