Welcome! This is your first free article. Get more free articles when you sign up with your email.

Out of Order

“An absurdist response to troubled times”
FacebookTwitterLinkedIn

It’s a bleak indictment of the times when a wordless, 90-minute clown brawl feels like an apt metaphor for any number of aspects of our cultural moment.

Out of Order, from boundary-pushing collective Forced Entertainment, is a wry, melancholic performance piece that evocatively reflects the alienating absurdity all around us.

Devised by the company, the show is built around a repeating sequence of tragicomic tableaux featuring overturned tables, funeral marches, and abortive scuffles. With no dialogue or overarching narrative, the audience is invited not so much to find meaning between the lines as to superimpose our own.

Performers trudge in circles, laden with furniture, and we might be reminded of refugees fleeing with their possessions. An escalating argument featuring half a dozen honking horns can’t help but feel like reading the online comments under a controversial article.

It’s energetically performed by a committed, six-strong cast, identically costumed in burgundy tartan suits and miserable, sweat-streaked face paint. While there are no distinct characters here, the performers eloquently convey a range of recognisable emotional responses to the escalating chaos, meeting each new routine with antagonism, playfulness, or glowering incomprehension.

Director and company founder-member Tim Etchells orchestrates the chaos with restrained finesse, switching fluidly between moments of stillness and passages of hyperactivity that eventually grind down to intentionally tedious anticlimaxes.

After balletic dances and exhausting chases, it ultimately ends neither with a bang nor a whimper, but the sad flop of a deflated balloon landing on a bare stage.

Over 30 years of creative mischief from Forced Entertainment


Related to this Review

To Move in TimeTo Move in Time

Production Details
Production nameOut of Order
VenueSouthbank Centre
LocationLondon
StartsOctober 12, 2019
EndsOctober 14, 2019, then touring
Running time1hr 30mins
AuthorForced .
DirectorTim Etchells
Set designerRichard Lowdon
Costume designerClaire Marshall
Lighting designerNigel Edwards
Sound designerAlex Fernandes
CastCathy Naden, Jerry Killick, Nicki Hobday, Richard Lowdon, Robin Arthur, Terry O’Connor
Production managerJim Harrison
ProducerForced, Künstlerhaus Mousonturm
VerdictForced Entertainment’s deconstructed clowning routine is a challenging absurdist response to troubled times
FacebookTwitterLinkedIn
Add New Comment
You must be logged in to comment.
Dave Fargnoli

Dave Fargnoli

More Reviews

Twelfth Night

Twelfth Night

Unprecedented

Unprecedented

Sea Wall

Sea Wall

Your subscription helps ensure our journalism can continue

Invest in The Stage today with a subscription starting at just £3.98
The Stage
© Copyright The Stage Media Company Limited 2020
Facebook
Instagram
Twitter
Linked In
Pinterest
YouTube