Hey peeps Dan here, On 6th April 2019 PSG headed to Mexborough with our guest Pagan Hollis to take on the latest adventures if we may call them that from the one and only Faceless Ventures, Although this time we would be facing a collaboration of epic proportions, That Co-collaborator being none other than ScareTrack’s very own Mikey armed with a great level of experience of Artaudian Theatre. All we knew of Cruelty would be that it would have a dark theatre theme and we would be promised a very intimate experience in the forthcoming show. Now due to the fact that Cruelty is marked to become a touring event, I shall have to give a more subjective review rather than the usual walk-through style.
Entering the Mexborough business centre we were greeted by friends not seen for a while, amongst the chatting the most recent guests of Cruelty were seen slinking off behind us into the toilet area. Something must have happened that pre waiting guests were not to be notified with. After a short while, we were called down to the familiar steps taking us to the one-room show for our Cruelty experience. On walking through a white curtain we were greeted by 4 seats facing another white sheet, Infront of us a single solitary red throne room style chair which looked to be a cross between dripping with blood and made from actual muscle,We took our seats and all was left to do was to await our friend to take the stage and Cruelty to begin.
This show was unlike any I had done before, Getting the audience and actors to break the 4th wall, That being represented by a single long strip of duct tape inches from our feet. Guests will be made to make choices, experience full audience participation which brings the viewer into the show and in some ways on to the stage to make decisions that question your moral fibre. From dishing out insults and compliments to truly tasting the action as it happens in front of you, Cruelty fronted by Mikey’s character the Ring Master is an assault on the senses that leaves you shaking, cheering, sticky, uncomfortable and moist. The Show in its simplicity is 45 minutes or so of pure disturbing madness giving you little time to breathe from each carefully thought out scene. The pace of the show is one of its true successes, Long uncomfortable drawn out scenes making you dread and anticipate when the next shock or twist would hit you, Alongside fast, frantic and fully in your face attacks on the senses. Taking you down the rabbit hole of the truly dark side of social media and the personas, influences and repercussions that such things as Facebook, Twitter, Grindr, Tinder and Instagram have on the mental faculties, Highlighting the psychopathy of our own judgements when anonymity is placed in our hands. The finale to the show was a hard-hitting gritty unexpected turn that left us with one final choice that of which I Still question now if I was doing what was best for me, the character sat in front or for the respect and appreciation of my fellow viewers.
Mikey and Faceless Ventures created a show that will stay with me forever and never look at potatoes the same way again. I leave this review with the comment I made to Mikey at the end of the show. “Before coming into Cruelty I did not really know who Artaud was, but after this show, you have compelled me to find out”. If and When this fantastic and totally current show goes travelling I dare say you will leave researching Artaudian Theatre for yourself.
To Mikey, Hannah, Lee, Sarah, Callum, Frankie, Rebecca and all the rest of the team that bought this show together. Thank you for the honour of taking us onboard a true trip of the disturbing, uncomfortable and insane.