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Review of Flash Festival: Sidetrack Theatre - The Zugzwangs at the Looking Glass Theatre

Sidetrack Theatre's neat trick of not really having a show of more than five minutes had the impressive effect of negating any technical faults that might occur. I remain oblivious now as to how much was meant to go wrong, however it was all dealt with flair that everything other than the set collapsing could be permitted.

The Zugzwang's opening is spectacular, funny and exhausting. It also provided me with an alien body in my hot chocolate that this time wasn't a marshmallow. Balloon, party poppers, great tubes of confetti and an exhilarating physical sequence lasted: time check - five minutes tops. The chap on the front row and his watch required and demanded more despite Samantha Ahweyevu's pleas otherwise. So a team huddle later we have a show, sort of. The pretence remains throughout that this is being made up on the fly, but this is of course all a fib. You have to rehearse well for things to go this wrong.

A Zugzwang apparently is a situation where a move or choice must be made, whether it is for the best or not. and that forms the premise of the show as we see a collection of characters all facing decisions of some sort in life, be they love, career etc.

The premise of not having a show works, just. There are many moments like the litter picking karma monster which was supremely funny and an impressive sight. Then we have the most wonderful routine between Rochelle Halsall and Matt Hirst, both tender and expertly performed. A third moment of wonder comes from Samantha and her serenade of the gentlemen in the front row. Wonderfully embarrassing but so, so hilarious and played with quite a frightening air to it, sinister stares and all.

The Zugwang's is a hugely entertaining show which has moments of magic and moments of "was that meant to happen" in equal measure, but maintains interest throughout due to the shear levels of energy from all the performers. The choice is yours whether you go or not. I suggest yes.



The Flash Festival 2015 runs between 18th-23rd May, 2015 at four venues across the town. Details can be found at http://ftfevents.wix.com/flashtheatre2015, while tickets can be booked via the Royal & Derngate. Details at: http://www.royalandderngate.co.uk/whatson/2015-2016/Other/FlashFestival15

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