THEATRE AT HOME REVIEW: Lights Over Tesco Car Park ★★★★

Lights Over Tesco Car Park
Digital Streaming, Youtube
Poltergeist Theatre Company

Developed in association with The North Wall, Poltergeist Theatre Company's devised production boldly states at the start that ‘All of This is True’ across the back wall. They are of course referring to a man named Robert, who one evening in a Tesco’s car park in London encountered four red lights hovering in the air and believes that this was in fact an extraterrestrial sighting. Through the form of abduction cases and a whole tub of flying saucer sherbet sweets, this devised creation brings to life all forms of multimedia landscapes and visionaries, thanks to Jack Bradfield’s inventive script.

In what feels reminest of a ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ Series, the audience are solely in control of how the performance runs, for the fact that four options pop up onto a projected screen, and if members of the audience feel brave enough, they volunteer themselves forwards to decide which path the production will lead. Out of the four possible scenarios, in this purposely filmed version of the show, three case studies are chosen; The Dechmont Woods Encounter, The Villas-Boas Incident, and The Hill Abduction. As a collective, Alice Boyd, Julia Pilkington, Rosa Garland and Will Spence are full of energy and rhythm in telling each segment with enough conviction and imagination that we can easily take ourselves away from the present and divulge into the world that they are creating. 

Robert’s tale continues to weave between the case studies, mainly through phone calls with the cast, which are skillfully synced up from performer to the pre-recorded calls. We also delve deeper into the company's chemistry as the actors themselves, through a rather poignant meltdown near the climax of the production, plus some fun in one of the cast members potentially dating the ‘box office boy’. There’s an interactive audience quiz, to which anyone can take part in, even if you are watching this digital stream sitting in the comfort of your own home. These light-hearted segments eases the audience throughout, and thanks to Edward Sanders’ innovative lighting design, it keeps everything focused in driving the story forward.

A personal highlight was during the ‘Article We Found in our Research’. Through the use of Alice Boyd’s Sound Design of Dubstep mixed in with Flashing Party Lights, we are instantly transported into what feels like a clubbing atmosphere, as each company member breaks out of the scene to speak into the microphone a random newspaper headline that feels too ridiculous to be true, but reminding ourselves of the slogan from the beginning, remarkably ALL OF THIS IS TRUE. The only downside I found to the whole performance was the surreal fact that watching digitally means you miss out on the finale of the show, which looked and probably felt memorable for all involved without hopefully giving too much away.

Overall, Lights Over a Tesco Car Park is a multi-media frenzy of ideas that constantly bounce around and land in a way that keeps us entertained and gripped to the main thread of it’s core with the tale of Robert and the Alien who is to stay in his Guest Room, whilst also having tons of energy and fun with the audience in a way that feels unique with the different styles of storytelling and the random linear possibilities that the production could undertake.


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