Three performers, one microphone and a whole load of cardboard boxes greet the unsuspecting audience as they make their way into the theatre space. It is clear from the very start that Every Building Tells A Story. Every Story Collapses Eventually is a show ready to revel in its uniqueness. A hilarious pre-show opening has each performer talking over and interrupting the others, stealing the microphone in order to give their description of what they believe to be their “perfect building”. Make sure you arrive early as this is not to be missed.
From thereon in, however, the production seems to travel down two paths simultaneously. The first takes us on a journey through the tyranny of property, what buildings mean to people (and people to buildings) and how they shape the space in which we live, all of which the title of the show would suggest. There is a second, unprecedented layer however in which the trio fully acknowledge themselves as performers and as a company, playing on the virulent but humorous dynamics of working relationships and the fine line between professional and personal.
It becomes apparent that these are three performers not afraid to play with awkwardness. At multiple times throughout the show the action descends into unrivalled cardboard anarchy (the like of which hasn’t been seen since David Blaine pitched off a tower in New York). Left in the “rubble” of their cardboard demolitions they slowly take to reassembling the boxes ready for the next scene. Occasionally there’s an attempt at a small accompanying scene or sketch while this occurs but ultimately the pace and any sense of momentum behind the show is lost periodically leaving the whole thing somewhat episodically stunted. They could perhaps have spent less time shuffling, arranging and re-arranging boxes and more time on delving deeper into the wonderful glimpses of drama that fleetingly tease the audience.
Because the drama is good, it shows there is heart and soul in the mundane, urban landscapes around us. It’s a touching viewpoint and one not often advocated. Through the guise of architecture, construction and living space some thoughtful issues are reflected. Dani Mosimann leads a stirring piece on gender inequality, Andrew Roberts asks questions about “home” and houses of childhood and Georgia Murphy sparks a beautiful discussion (in which all three of them come together) to both attack and celebrate the dual nature of London and what it means to them, us and everyone else.
Every Building… is that show that doesn’t seem to know quite where it’s going but still manages to eke out some poignancy here and there. Despite a wholly disorganised deliverance it remains enjoyable regardless and if every building does in fact tell a story then tonight’s was a fun one.
Every Building Tells A Story. Every Story Collapses Eventually is playing The Rosemary Branch Theatre until 3 July. For more information and tickets, see The Rosemary Theatre website.