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REVIEW: Instructions For Border Crossing at Newcastle Northern Stage
Facing Our Problems
Instructions For Border Crossing
Newcastle Northern Stage
Until Friday 3rd November 2017
performed by Daniel Bye
design by Katharine Williams
design by Mariam Rezaei
by Sarah Punshon
Annabel Turpin at ARC
are actually quite hard to review. This is one such show as we don’t want to
give too much away. That would spoil the surprise. Should you go and see it? Definitely.
Will it entertain? Indeed it will, unless you get upset by swearing. Do you
have to get involved? No, but you’ll probably enjoy it more if you do. Did it
deserve all of the great press it got at Edinburgh Fringe? In our opinion, it
did. So like the news that comes on before Match Of The Day, this might be a
good time to book tickets, though, as always, we will try not to give any
are taking place during Daniel Bye’s latest show. A story is being told and a
conversation is happening with the audience. We know he is a great storyteller
404 and he creates thought provoking theatre after How
To Occupy An Oil Rig so we had high hopes for this show.
is about a 12 year old girl who has got rid of her British passport but she is
trying to cause havoc at the border by smuggling herself back into the
country. What are the rules for the
staff at border control? How easy is it to get into this country? Is it easy to
move across borders when you’re on the fringes of society?
conversations take place at a table in which a game of Jenga is taking place.
Members of the audience are invited up to try and push a few bricks out and
share their thoughts before supporting the performance of the next instalment
of the story. The first volunteer had the job of illuminating the Jenga tower
with a torch so it looked like a police helicopter searchlight scanning a tower
block. That is just the first part of the ingenious way in which the story ties
in with the action on stage.
ends with the credits being read out like a Radio 4 play and, at times, the
rest of the show feels like a recording of a radio play. Sound effects and
imaginative use of descriptive language during the storytelling all adds up to
support the feel of the show.
audience participation, which is entirely voluntary but Daniel is such a nice
chap it’d be difficult to turn him down, makes this a very engaging experience.
We are told that the instructions for the play are based upon the work of a
lesser known playwright called Edward Shorter. At first Shorter seems to have been
obsessed with creating a lot of border scenes for plays. Then the penny drops
about the origins of this hitherto unknown master of the creative arts.
includes a retractable tape barrier - such as those used of the queues in
airports. There are sound effects for the tapes being adjusted to let people on
and off the stage. That leads to an actual barrier in the room and that is, if
you think about it, a significant element in the narrative. The music and sound
effects also build the tension during the story.
Daniel Bye shows that the simple art of storytelling can lead to a wonderful
theatrical performance. His warmth fills the room even if the subject matter is
sometimes dark or unpleasant. The packed stage 3 audience played their role too
in making tonight’s show a highly engaging celebration of the human spirit. Now
I want to get the Jenga out and have a game.