Review: How to Occupy an Oil Rig - Newcastle Northern Stage
A story about protesting is the latest production from Middlesbrough’s Daniel Bye who is ably joined on stage by Kathryn Beaumont and Jack Bennett.
Daniel met the audience as they arrived via the stage and urged everyone to take some plasticine and to make a representation of themselves protesting. Thus the stage, comprising mainly of big Lego blocks, is completed by figurines of the audience. At the start the crowd revealed that their protesting has generally been limited to signing online petitions. The story carries everyone on a high speed tour of protests from those petitions to hanging banners off oil rigs via far more contact with the boys in blue than is normal. Lucy Crimmens’ Lego set is manipulated by Daniel, Kathryn and Jack as they interact with the story and the audience. An invitation to hold a protest results in 3 of the audience kicking some of the set.
The performance was never intimidating which is always a worry when actors try to get interactive. A thoughtful performance had both lighter moments and an undercurrent of a need to make a difference to society. The music by Jamie Fletcher helps the segue between incidents and is not intrusive. The actors’ personable performance is never patronising or found to be lecturing. All in all an entertaining and thought provoking performance.
The show continues on tour:
Tues 11 - Thur 13 Mar, 8pm, Northern Stage, Newcastle
Fri 14 Mar, 8pm, Brewery Arts Centre, Kendal
Tues 18 Mar, 7.30pm, Alnwick Playhouse, Alnwick
Wed 19 Mar, 8pm, Unity Theatre, Liverpool
Thur 20 Mar, 8pm, mac, Birmingham
Fri 21 Mar, 8pm, Derby Theatre, Derby
Sat 22 & Sun 23 Mar, Camden People's Theatre, London
Tues 25 Mar, 7.45pm, Harrogate Theatre, Harrogate
Wed 26 Mar, 7pm, ARC, Stockton on Tees
Thur 27 Mar, 7.30pm, Arts Centre Washington, Washington