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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

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.

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

Production Information

Production
The Train
Venue
Lancaster Arts
City
Lancaster
Starts
January 20, 2016
Ends
January 25, 2016
Press night
January 21, 2016
Authors
Andrew Quick, Pete Brooks
Music
Jeremy Peyton-Jones
Director
Andrew Quick, Pete Brooks
Set
Laura Hopkins
Lighting
Andrew Crofts
Video
Simon Wainwright
Technical
Ian Ryan (techician)
Stage manager
Denise Body
Cast includes
Laura Atherton, Matt Prendergast, Morven Macbeth
Producer
Imitating the Dog
Running time
40mins