Arts and Culture Review: Tomorrow’s Parties

Director: Tim Etchells – 11th October – Tramway

In the future, anything could happen. In the future we could be one giant country, or several tiny nations the size of villages. In the future, Children could be hailed as Gods or, they could be disappearing, the lucky families that they remain to hiding out for protection or salvation.

When the two members of Forced Entertainment ready to bring you Tomorrow’s Parties walk onto a bare stage and step onto their plinth, with only a string of fairy lights to serve as their set, the mood is distinctively mellow. This remains throughout the performance as an introspective audience reflect on the possibilities presented to them as to just what tomorrow will really look like. It is hard to imagine sitting and listening to two people simply list possibilities for an hour, but Tomorrow’s Parties feels like much more than a simple conversation, sharing of ideas.

The way the two performers bounce off one and other, either building onto ideas, subverting or contradicting them is incredibly impressive. They build up, tear down and replace so many ideas of the future that it is almost impossible to focus on the one idea that rings most true. The use of timing, wordplay and humour means that each newly proposed possibility is given just enough time to settle with the audience, without ever hanging over them for too long. Unless of course it is one of those gems that sticks with you for long after the performance. The thoughtfulness, poignancy and insight that pervades the piece means that much of what is said will be left ringing in your ears long after Forced Entertainment have left the stage.

Very few performers and companies could put together a piece that is this understated and yet still so engaging. The very fact that they are such a collaborative group, devising and improvising their pieces together is what gives them this ability, with their edge coming from the 29 years they have spent working together. Forced Entertainment are a huge force and inspiration in the world of contemporary performance and, if Tomorrow’s Parties is anything to go by, they will continue to inspire and dominate the stage for many years to come.

[Emma Ainley-Walker]

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