This wasn’t theatre, this was an interactive evening in Utah with the State Governor, Merriweather, come terrorist which blew me away, literally, there is a terror explosion in the first scene!

Written, composed, produced directed by Solomon Curtis, Tooba Khan, Fenton Mann and Paulina Turcan (from SUDS) about a parallel universe where in Utah, America, an atheist terrorists becomes Governor of Utah and blames the Dinny religion for the violence, this is a thought provoking piece of work as well as gripping to be a part of.

We told at the start that is was a semi-immersive, promenade piece of theatre. I was more than semi-immersed, more like 110% immersed; I ran from the terror explosion, cheered in the debate, felt flattered when I got a wave from the president and cried when she died. I also spent the whole of the interval, discussing in my awful american accent (the actors had actual believable American accents) who’d dun it and what was going to happen.

This evening involved, and when I say involved I mean walking, to each different physical location, the Church (which was an actual Church), the Candidates debate, the Governor’s Office, some dingy street corner, the forest and more. Each location was very believable with adequate props and a small live orchestra providing haunting music throughout.

We were led through the performance by solemn guides and also had a wonderful workaholic news reporter at every turn in the story, unwavering in her conviction that each scene was breaking news.

As for the acting it was on point; I suspected the security guard (played by Jamal Johnson) as a bad guy from the beginning (and I was right), Kelly (played by Chipego Siamuwele) could have been Obama’s actual chief of staff for all I knew and I really felt for Jim’s religious conviction (played by Max Peston).

And for the lead role, Morgan Merriweather, played by Steffan Chanyaem, was such a convincing charismatic yet terrifying politician that I was scared to approach him afterwards to congratulate him on his flawless performance.

For it’s first full run through there were very few technical errors and when it is performed again in June with the late evening sun and warmer evenings I am sure it will be an unforgettable immersive and haunting evening.

I don’t want to ruin the experience for future participants but there is live fire, music, acting and locations which are truly amazing on a production and participation level that is is a must see show.

I would highly recommend attending this performance to immerse yourself in this world and to question the way our politicians, religions and news channels in our world succeed in portraying their agendas.

State of Nature is on at the Attenborough Centre 5-7th June 2017. You can buy tickets here at www.attenboroughcentre.com and check out the trailer here: https://vimeo.com/210422023

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Annie Pickering

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