The word theatre doesn’t normally conjured up an image of an open top double-decker bus, life drawing classes or noise cancelling headphones. But they are a handful of things that made IOU’s performance of Rear View at the Norfolk and Norwich festival so unique. This immersive piece of theatre just blew me away. I’d never experienced anything quite like it and I came away with a new perspective on life.
The performance began in a life drawing class, before heading out onto the streets of Norwich. We watched and listened to an older woman talking to her younger self. She explored her past relationships, love, loss and chance encounters through the power of emotive speech. It was a moving performance and the sheer simplicity of the storyline made it ever so beautiful. It really made you stop and think about what you would tell your younger self and how those decisions in your youth have shaped your adult life.
After the life drawing class, with a twist, the audience boarded the Rear View bus. We were greeted with a set of noise cancelling headphones and told to what them throughout the performance. We were then driven around the cathedral quarter where the actress Cecelia would appear in certain locations and fill in some of the blanks in the story. Her performance was beautiful, her movements, mannerisms and change in tone took your along on her emotional journey. At times I thought I was going to cry.
The cleaver use of technology and sound on the bus really elevated the performance to a new level. The noise cancelling headphones meant that there weren’t any distractions at all. The focus was solely on the performance, the surrounding and the emotions that you were feeling. It was so peaceful and beautiful. It made me realise that I never actually switch off. I noticed so many things about Norwich that I had never spotted before. It gave me a new level of appreciation for my surroundings and has made me determined to switch off more.
Finally, slightly bemused or confused members of the public added a little humour into the performance. We had waves a plenty from beer gardens, heaps of confused looks, a few double takes and a couple of embarrassed people! Cecelia remained composed and in character throughout, it was almost like the public were invisible to her. Which is one hell of a skill in itself!
So if you fancy some making the most of the sunshine and trying something new this weekend. Get yourself tickets to IOU’s Rear View at the Norfolk and Norwich Festival. It’ll be the best decision you make this weekend.
Rear View is on until Sunday 28th May at the Norfolk and Norwich Festival. To find out more about IOU company
and any touring performances click here.
All of my reviews of the Norfolk and Norwich festival can be found here.