Lemons, robots, goldfish, and naked people, might sound like an odd combination of things to put together, but performance company dreamthinkspeak manage this pretty well in their new promenade piece In The Beginning Was The End. The performance is influenced by The Book of Revelation and Leonardo da Vinci’s drawings, but I don’t know how, or in what way they used those to produce this. I mean, seriously, I had no idea what the hell was going on half of the time.
Spread underneath, in, and around King’s College London and Somerset house, the piece explores a company that manufactures various robotic devices that are supposed to make life easier for people. The products they produce, however, malfunction, resulting in consumer complaints, and zero profits. It is true that the story is hard to follow, and you might find it difficult to work it out, which is why I found the programme very useful to read. Personally, the story line was not the great part of the performance. It was the way the dreamthinkspeak used the story to bring to life different images that really made the piece spectacular.
The sets were incredible, and the attention to detail was amazing. The audience is given as much time as they want to explore the different rooms and floors of the two venues, controlled by the emotionless ushers, who point to the right direction without a sound. The rooms range from naturalistic science labs, and product testing rooms, where the actors speak to the audience in different languages, to surrealist rooms, with giant robots and office meetings under water. It is very clear from the content, and the very artistic parts of the set, that a lot of work was put into making this piece a success.
This show is a must see. Admittedly, you might not understand exactly what is happening, and yes, seeing all those naked people going crazy can be slightly uncomfortable to watch (I have never seen so many peepees in one place, I had no idea where to look). But it is the thought provoking visual elements of In The Beginning Was The End that makes it a well presented piece of art.