Paul O'Donnell

Singing its Praises: Karaoke

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Yesterday our marketing intern Paul O’Donnell experienced Sleepwalk Collective’s new performance Karaoke, here’s what he thought:

Karaoke made its UK premiere at the Warwick Arts Centre last night, with internationally touring theatre makers iara and Sammy, known to many as Sleepwalk Collective, presenting a show that not only sung to us as a group, but also as individuals.

Using a projection screen, like one you might find in a karaoke club, the text, gestures and style of the two performers were cued by this all-powerful machine, the performers left only to do what the machine directs them to.

From the moment we see the projections, to quote Elvis, “we’re caught in a trap” of which we “can’t walk out”, as through the text on screen we as spectators are also told what to think, or what not to think, or to think of nothing at all! We find ourselves controlled by this machine perhaps just as much as those on stage are. As soon as we focused upon the screen “we saw the writing on the wall [and we felt its] magical fantasy”, to quote Dirty Dancing.

I was in a constant battle with myself throughout my experience of Karaoke. In trying so hard to disobey the machine and not think what it was telling me to think, I was of course thinking about that thing, whether it was a beach, a rollercoaster or even a white elephant. I could not escape from the control this machine had on my mind no matter how hard I tried.

This is where the interest of the piece lay for me, in the inability to escape from the technology in the room, my own inability to take my eyes away from that controlling screen.

From the minute you enter, to the moment you “walk out the door”, as Gloria Gaynor once sang, you are absorbed by this screen, and the beautifully composed text that Sleepwalk Collective have presented through this device.

I would highly recommend this highly engaging and thought-provoking theatre experience. To paraphrase the great Frank Sinatra, “start spreading the news they’re leaving today”.

To purchase tickets for tonights performance of Karaoke at 7.45pm, or to find out more about this event please click here where you can book online. Or call Box Office on 024 7652 3734.

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