The first rule of Das Spiel, or in fact any immersive theatre, is that you must enter with an open mind, stay relaxed and be a willing player – after all, the game found you, didn’t it?
If you feel uncomfortable entering the auditorium then you can be sure of a fantastic night. You will get the best out of your experience if you are ready to play. The game connects the room, bringing together the past and present with a variety of magical illusions that lead to the result of the overall game and outcome of the show. Philipp Oberlohr has an enchanting grip over the audience and, although his performance is understated, it seems like the perfect tone to keep the audience on edge and engaged the entire time. Even if you’re not selected, you are still a player.
In an interview with the host theatre, Oberlohr said “I want to facilitate a connection between the people who come to the show… I’m not trying to convince anyone of anything. For me, magic is something that keeps you in the moment, where you’re so absorbed in what you’re experiencing, you don’t worry about yesterday or tomorrow.” Well then, goal achieved: as he goes from one trick to another there is no doubt that everyone is entirely engrossed in everything he says and everything he does.
The eerie atmosphere is perfect to create a setting for having your mind completely, totally and utterly blown. The dark room is quite intimate, shutting you off from the rest of the world who have not been selected as a player. His performance is quite nonchalant, giving the audience an unsettled feeling as the mind games begin. Every word and every movement is specifically chosen and his jokes are perfectly timed. In fact, the precision is perfect for enhancing a sense of unease.
Even the biggest sceptic would soon be forced to change their mind after seeing this performance. If Oberlohr fails to impress you with his spooky revelations, the faces of his selected players say it all. No actor can fake the look of pure shock on their faces as he reveals their inner thoughts to the rest of the group.
It is about an hour of magic, illusion and surprises, and it is absolutely astounding and outstanding. I would recommend you become a player – but the game has already chosen you.
Das Spiel plays at the Ovalhouse until 16 May. For more information and tickets, see the Ovalhouse website.