Review – Whatsonstage.com

http://www.whatsonstage.com/reviews/theatre/off-west+end/E8831363780998/Above+%26+Beyond.html

Five Stars

Never tried immersive theatre before? Don’t worry, neither had I. Although the concept isn’t a new one, the idea of removing the barrier between audience and participant is an unnerving one for many theatregoers. It’s a good thing, then, that Look Left Look Right’s new show Above & Beyond, set in London’s Corinthia Hotel, is such a zinger of a piece.

Exhilarating, funny and fast-paced, Morgan Lloyd Malcolm and Katie Lyons’ script whips you through the 70 allocated minutes without a moment to spare, leaving you full of adrenalin and thoroughly satisfied. You’ll participate in the daily life of this five star hotel (sort of), hear stories that will take you back to another time entirely, while getting to experience parts of the hotel that you would never normally see. But it’s not just a tour of the premises – besides the crazy, funny moments, there are times of real poignancy, while there’s also a well-thought out thread tying the whole thing together.

This kind of performance is a little bit nervewracking to start out with for some, but it’s easy – and much more fun – to slip into the swing of things, trusting that the cast will see you through, which they do with aplomb. Daily life in the hotel goes on during all of this, which means that you are liable to bump into real guests or staff at any point, who may have no idea why you’re where you are, looking odd and asking peculiar questions!

The numerous cast work incredibly hard in the midst of what must be a logistical nightmare to organise (full credit to directors Mimi Poskitt, Ellie Browning and Samuel Wood here). Although it would be remiss to reveal full details of what happens, particular highlights include the zany Petal (Jennie Gruner), Molly Taylor’s sweet, soulful Nora (I’m still on the watch for red balloons) and Moj Taylor’s preening, over-the-top “victory wee” PR Matt. You’ll blush, you’ll laugh and, most importantly, you’ll play along with this joy of a show.

-Miriam Zendle