The People Show, People Show 105

Review in Issue 10-2 | Summer 1998

This is theatre as a window to another world: the world of the mind. Some fifty years after the Bethnal Green tube disaster, The People Show present the story of Bill, a victim of that tragedy. Now in care and condemned to a daily routine of tea and television, memories ricochet in Bill’s skull like gunfire.

People Show 105 combines dance, video, music and surrealism to evoke a past of lost loves and pain endured. For 45 minutes chaos reigns as The People Show present, in Technicolor, Bill’s stream of consciousness reminiscences of a life branded by the significance of one event. Bill’s armchair, an object rooted in his present day reality, acts as an agent of the past, a time-machine of sorts. Nurses and their inane chatter dissolve into sister, lover and a dancing duo reminiscent of Dennis Potter. There is an ingenious and hysterical tea-pouring trick – don’t try this at home!

All the while Bill is present as participator, observer or activator as his mind wanders: coherent one moment, lost and vulnerable the next. He is a reminder that there is more to people than meets the eye and that the intensity and power of memory can sometimes be unrelentingly painful for the individual that every day relives the trauma of a dramatic life-changing event.

This is an enigmatic production: intelligent, beguiling and alternately tragic and very funny. It is an original take on the human condition.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. May 1998

This article in the magazine

Issue 10-2
p. 22