Last Thursday the Olivier Theatre was taken over by five daring performers and a mountain of cardboard boxes as they put on Keziah Serreau’s STRIKE! as another exciting visiting performance to Bedales.
We are introduced to the banal and repetitive lives of office workers who slowly rise up and ultimately reject the machine of modern capitalism they are a part of. This Kafkaesque exploration of identity proved gripping as well as being thought-provoking and often very humourous in a physical theatre and circus piece. As the office workers come to terms with the bleak nature of their existence we see them gradually shed their office clothes and rise up (literally as well as figuratively) in a breathtaking trapeze act, without breaking a sweat, leaving the full Olivier awestruck.
This was one of many breath taking circus acts that included moments of suspenseful tightrope walking; calculated ‘lobbing’ of one of the female performers back and forth across the stage and the impressive combination of a bicycle and industrial quantities of cling film.
The excellent ensemble was powered on by a measured pulse of electronic music, with sound effects and lighting cleverly further adding to the comparatively minimalist set and props. All this led the audience to believe that the office workers truly found themselves in a sprawling city environment and later, after breaking free of their constraints, were at the seaside with the sun going down.
I was fortunate enough to get to know Keziah Serreau this summer while working with her on a theatre production that was prematurely cut short. In the wake of the show’s cancellation Keziah urged me to always be truthful and, most of all to be dangerous when making theatre. I am pleased to say after seeing STRIKE! that Keziah has remained true to that statement.
By Saul Barrett, 6.1