Relying on audience participation to form a key part of your show is a risky business: if you select participants that are reluctant to join in or are just plain non-responsive the entire performance falls flat. With this in mind Non Zero One has cleverly come up with a range of non-verbal ways to stimulate audience interactions that range from shining a torch in agreement, to jotting questions down, to switching your headphones to a different setting. Clearly master of its craft, in parts it even allows the audience to select the level of interactivity that they want to engage in, inviting the extroverts to take centre stage to field questions from the more retiring yet inquisitive audience members. Non Zero One also identifies that within every audience there are always people that would rather bolt out of the door than be railroaded into any form of audience participation; they are given option three of being an ostrich which permits them to listen to some calming music, and are nudged when the interactive experience is over. A clear and astute awareness of audience personality and character traits ensures that everyone is happy and engages with the show at a level that they feel comfortable doing.
The title of the piece and the promotional copy for Mountaineering gives very little away; I imagine that they are deliberately vague so that the audience enters with no idea of what is about to unfold. Instant intrigue is created as you try and second guess what the items in the activity pack will be used for. I’d previously reviewed Non Zero One’s work at the Future Festival and it was interesting to see how it has evolved as a company by taking similar principles and applying them on a larger scale.
Mountaineering asks you to take a moment to reflect on your life choices, considering the way in which sometimes we make choices and other times, due to circumstance, choices are made for us. Non Zero One explores the possibilities of interactive theatre in a playful, charming and engaging manner.
Mountaineering is playing at The Roundhouse until 15 February. For more information and tickets, see The Roundhouse website.