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It Made Me Consider Me review at New Diorama, London – ‘uncanny interactive theatre’

Gruff Theatre's It Made Me Consider at New diorama, London. Photo: Camilla Greenwell

Taking place in ND2, an office block a short walk from the New Diorama, Gruff Theatre’s It Made Me Consider Me is set inside RALPH, a memory storage company that combines high sci-fi with humorously nervy bureaucracy.

Audience members become new employees at RALPH, receiving their induction (interaction is mandatory). Cartoonish, roller-blading CEO Ralph (Rhys Slade-Jones) has his new employees get to know him and one another in a fake quiz show designed to showcase his ego; chilling, pseudo-cuddly head of HR Sue (Cordelia Stevenson) enforces disciplinary role play and group therapy confessionals.

Employees faint, panic, appear to be taken over by alternate personalities, fight just out of earshot and freeze in terror when a woman in an incongruous red gown stalks through the cavernous central space. We surmise that a potent memory has manifested and gotten loose, affecting the entire company.

Gruff Theatre does impressive things on a limited budget. Six performers manage to create the impression of a bustling research outfit; the numerous corridors and office spaces the audience members are led through are sparsely decorated and use existing office paraphernalia, plus a few lights and stickers, for props – but still conjure a scientific hub of horrors.

Though there is slightly too much reliance on immersive ‘team-building’ exercises, It Made Me Consider Me is both entertaining and genuinely eerie, its unnerving qualities coming as much from the disturbingly familiar atmosphere of a bureaucratic, alienating, process-obsessed office environment as from the sci-fi storyline.

Verdict
Uncanny, funny and characterful interactive promenade performance that does a lot with a little

Production Information

Production
It Made Me Consider Me
Venue
New Diorama
City
London
Starts
January 31, 2018
Ends
February 21, 2018
Press night
February 6, 2018
Creator
Gruff Theatre
Director
Gruff Theatre
Set
Laura Orawski
Lighting
Jodi Houlihan
Sound
Will Berger
Costume
Rachel Gammon
Cast includes
Rhys Slade-Jones, Cordelia Stevenson, Jonathan Blaydon, Derek Elwood, Thomas Bostock, Jesse Bateson
Producer
Gruff Theatre, New Diorama Theatre
Running time
1hr 35mins