August 16, 2022


Venture Dictator at New Diorama Theatre | Theatre evaluate

Making its world premiere on the New Diorama Theatre in London, Venture Dictator is the searingly topical story of two outspoken artists who spiral from seemingly unbridled freedom of expression to changing into the tortured puppets of a troublingly ubiquitous authoritarian regime.

Co-directed with Hamish Macdougall, Venture Dictator is the bombastic brainchild of Julian Spooner and Matt Wells, co-artistic administrators of Rhum and Clay, and the pair shine on this sequence of off-kilter duologues. The preliminary sketch sees Spooner and Wells delivering a raucous indictment of the posturing of their anonymous political leaders. There’s an trade between the aspiring politician and the strung-out Amazon warehouse employee. Then we fast-forward by the previous’s meteoric rise to get together management, to a celebration press convention hijacked by the identical Amazon worker, comically armed with a megaphone strapped to a motorbike helmet. From satirising a Trumpian contempt for the press to bouts of evasive political jargon that conjure visions of figures a lot nearer to residence, the manic tempo and impeccable comedic timing of every scene achieve eliciting effusive viewers participation and producing a energetic, jovial ambiance, rooted within the common theme of political disillusionment. The viewers is sort of a collective third solid member.

The frenetic two-man comedy act is accompanied by Syrian jazz composer Khaled Kurbeh, who performs his synth-heavy electro-acoustic rating onstage all through. Intimating a change within the actors’ fortunes, Kurbeh abruptly transitions from jazz-cafe-esque melodies to ominous synths and extended minor chords. The levity of the clowning sketches which comprise the next “state-sponsored” efficiency is dulled by the repressive risk of the ever-watchful regime, which dictates the phrases of their new present by way of directions blared from an offstage tannoy. That Spooner and Wells every studied clowning at L’Ecole Jacques Lecoq in Paris accounts for his or her meticulously staged and incisively executed clowning, and each achieve imbuing their performances with the distinctive pressure of performing beneath duress.

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That the content material of the efficiency was instantly knowledgeable by nameless contributions from artists from Syria, Venezuela, Brazil, Hungary and Azerbaijan – these with actual experiences of constructing artwork beneath repressive regimes – infuses Venture Dictator’s faceless but formidably omniscient state with a renewed menace. The momentum of the efficiency, and its well timed relevance to the newest iteration of autocratic assault on democracy, with Vladimir Putin’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, make Venture Dictator an inimitably profound theatrical expertise with the message that the correct to politically dissenting artwork is simply that – a proper, not a privilege.

Lauren Devine
Photos: Cesare De Giglio

Venture Dictator is at New Diorama Theatre from 29th March till 30th April 2022. For additional data or to ebook go to the theatre’s web site right here.

Watch the trailer for Venture Dictator right here: