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The Train review at Lancaster Arts – ‘immersive and engaging’

Laura Atherton in The Train at Lancaster Arts. Photo by Rory Howson Laura Atherton in The Train at Lancaster Arts. Photo by Rory Howson
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Designed to be experienced by twelve audience members at a time, The Train marries theatrical experimentation with filmic elements.

Each person is given a set of headphones. Video projections of passing landscape and the movement of the compartment in which the audience sit create the sense of a train moving at speed.

Blending live-action and video, Imitating the Dog’s immersive and engaging production is incredibly inventive, drawing the audience in to a tangled story of woman’s quest for her late husband and a mysterious child.

The narrative is continually reworked and repeated. The effect is reminiscent of the dystopian worlds within the films of Andrei Tarkovsky and the zones mentioned in the voiceover bring to mind those in his masterwork, Stalker. The story takes the form of a therapy session in which a woman, Laura Atherton’s Amy, talks to her psychoanalyst. Atherton captures the angst and the anguish of a woman in turmoil and Matt Prendergast’s performance – as both her psychotherapist and the various characters which populate her ‘dream-world’ – also does strong work. While Amy has her demons we still empathise with her, even as the denouement seems to close the door on her troubled psyche.

The production as a whole breaks new ground in terms of presentation and it takes its audience on a compelling psychological journey too.

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Verdict
Experimental, immersive new work which takes its audience on a ride into a woman’s troubled mind
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