HOW To Start A Riot is a perfect example of a gritty, powerful and hypnotic performance. The three actors from Worklight Theatre are fascinating storytellers and transfix the audience from start to finish.
With the aid of minimal props and clever technology, Joe Sellman-Leava, Michael Woodman and Callum Elliott-Archer explore some of the questions, possible answers and reasons surrounding the riots in August 2011.
Atmosphere is created by torchlight and face lanterns which change colour depending on the situation or spoken words.
Among some of the most poignant moments is a monologue by Joe when he takes on the role of a person attending a peaceful protest.
Transported by his emotion and words, we can visualise the riot police barricade on one side, the furious rioters on the other and how his mind reacts to the confusion. Key words overused by politicians to describe the events are dissected and torn apart. Red light surrounds their mouths as they spout quick, flippant and insulting accusations towards people involved with the riots.
It queries the use of political rhetoric and how quickly people are to point the finger of blame.
One of the reasons for the show was to ask questions and if you go to watch this with the expectation of confirmed answers then you will be disappointed.
It is like observing an outstanding lesson in biology, psychology and sociology.
As with any exceptional lesson, this heightens subject knowledge and engagement with the topic, but leaves you still to figure out the exact cause and effect.
Review: Ellie Cox
Venue: studio@QT, Queen's Theatre, Barnstaple