Tomorrow’s Parties*** (Battersea Arts Centre, 19 November 2013)

Posted: November 21, 2013 in Theatre

This review was originally written for The Public Reviews:

Striking an almost perfect balance between optimism and pessimism, Forced Entertainment’s latest offering takes a crystal ball to look into the future of mankind. Covering government, religion, social structures, lifestyles, relationships, the environment and many more diverse topics, it plummets the depths of despair and then, at an instant, scales the heights of happiness. The show is performed by a man and a woman. drawn from a pool of five and different at each performance. Their appearance is made nondescript, their delivery is monotone and matter of fact and they stand on a platform within an arc of multi-coloured light bulbs. They speak in certainties – for example the World WILL end or we WILL all live happily ever after – never mentioning possibilities or probabilities. After each statement by one of the pair, the other interjects with the word “or” (the most used word in the show) and describes the exact opposite scenario. Much of the forecasting is a natural progression from current lifestyles: there will be global warming or there will be perpetual snow; population growth will mean that no-one will have personal space any more or disasters will leave just five people on Earth, each on different continents. This makes us ponder over the modern world and how we are both enhancing the lives of future generations and destroying them. It is thought-provoking, but not much more so than the News on any day of the week. At times, the predictions fly off into very amusing fantasies. However, they incorporate too many ideas that resemble strands from well-known futuristic fiction – The Hunger Games, Never Let Me Go and so on – so that they come to seem neither as inventive nor as original as they at first appear. This show lasts for 80 minutes. Or, because we are told that human life expectancy will be reduced to just one hour, make that 60 for future performances. Tomorrow’s Parties is a profound examination of what the future holds. Or it is boring and pointless nonsense. Or it is a combination of the two. Let’s settle for the last option.

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