Accidental Offices, Wellington Place, Belfast
March 9th – 14th 2015
I seem to be finding myself seeing immersive theatre more and more, but with good purpose! Accidental Theatre’s latest serving finds its audiences in an office building down a side-street in Belfast, not so far from acclaimed theatre space, the Grand Opera House – while this is the case, The Lost Martini is worlds away.
The story in this production is not something that comes easy, and an announcement at the start states that you have to eavesdrop, ask questions and feel free to move around. I found this came quite easily for me, as I was very keen to explore the sprawling floor that had become a famous bar of the night; however, from talking to lots of the other audiences members, I found that some of them were happier to sit back and watch, even though that meant not being able to access all of the intriguing story. I feel this was the only major let down as I didn’t get to explore all of the story myself as it was certainly impossible to take it all in and be everywhere, so instead found myself wrapped up in the experience.
This, on the other hand, was what made the evening less of a ‘theatre show’ and rather a night out. The lines between audience and cast members blurred quickly into what I’d imagine a hectic night out in a bar would be. However, it is worth mentioning that the drama did come across in the same way a midnight gossip might – in the best way imaginable. Domestic spats and strops between the characters and their issues made for an entertaining giggle and a shock amongst the audience. Rather than eavesdropping, I made a point of asking cast members what was the latest event that had taken place, and where I should explore next – a favourite moment of the night for me was when I stumbled into the panic room where I asked one of the cast members (Chris Grant), just what the Panic Room was – he explained “it’s for when you need a good scream and need to let it all out”, which was naturally followed by a very guttural roar, sending a swarm of audience members into said Panic Room. This I felt (while maybe not scripted) certainly engaged audiences!
The Lost Martini was a fantastic ‘experience’ and for me personally that was its great charm. As a night that started with a reserved audience sitting back quietly, to that same audience jumping and singing Uptown Funk in the streets, it was far from easy not to be fully immersed in the world of The Lost Martini. I just wish we had more time to explore.
By Matt Davidson