"The Almighty Other" by Causa Sui Theatre.Nottingham Lakeside.
The Almighty Other is the most interesting piece of theatre that I've seen in a very long time. the whole idea behind this one hour piece of theatre is so thought provoking, making you examine how you feel and think about what you're told by others and how and why you decide to process the information given
"What is he on about?" you may say. well let me tell you more.
When I read that in this play you are able to follow the actors around and guide how the play goes I thought "oh no, not one of those audience participation walk through jobbies" but this is so different.
You are led into the performance space and behind one section an almost God-like creature in black tells us that we've all been killed and we are now in purgatory and we will either go to heaven or hell, but we decide, and if we kill anyone, we automatically go to hell.
In among the audience are members of the cast and as the all seeing God (Jack Lamb) disappeared, the self appointed "leader" Gordon (Gordon Cullen) takes the podium and starts to insult members of assembled audience, well the cast members of the audience.
From there we see two groups form, Gordon and Neil (Neil Duckmanton) and Charlie (Charlie Clark), Danni (Danni Huskisson) and Michael (Michael Muyunda).
There are several confrontations, which at time are quite frighteningly violent, physically and verbally, mainly from Gordon, as they wind each other up. Neil is the calming influence and the would be peace maker while the girls report back to Michael several lies which paints Gordon not in the best of lights, but after all he was the protagonist in the group so maybe he deserves it, doesn't he?
The two groups split off into the different sections of the Lakeside performing space, and the audience decide which of the two groups to watch, meaning that they only get half of the story, but that is the point of this cleverly written play because in one way you can only make up your mind based on whichever grouping you follow about.
Tensions rise between the five and matters are taken to extremes, based on the information that person is fed by the other part of the group.
In the end the all seeing God like creature in black comes back in and confronts the group and decides their fate based on what he has seen. there are some sent to hell and the remaining sent to heaven, but who is in which camp?
The play makes you think about your every day situation because we all believe what our friends say and if our friends don't like one person then we tend to side with that friend and believe whatever we are told, but do we stop to get the full story from both sides so that we can truly judge that person or situation? well we all know the answer to that.
It's sometimes during this play difficult to believe that this was all scripted because the words flowed, or more often than not spat out in a way that we all can deliver when we are angry or want to wind someone up.
The five actors were frighteningly good and made me feel quite emotional in parts, sick in others, angry in other parts. the quality of the story and the writing is also some of the best new theatre that I've experienced and so fresh to be in a different setting other than sat within rows of other theatre viewers.
Jack's costume was fantastic, it had to be seen to be believed and so to the shoes of one of the characters. How did she manage to walk in those amazing shoes, I'll never know! the costumes were the genius of Mingzhang Sun.
Directed by Jack Lamb, you can see why it's taken so,long to get this play to a performance level because of the intricate way the play is performed. Making a play look so natural is never an easy task for any director.
I loved the whole concept of "The Almighty Other" and my only disappointment was that not more people attended this new piece of refreshing theatre. But worry not, you can still catch this on Saturday evening at Lakeside and experience some of the freshest and talented, as well as really nice people in real life, people.