REVIEW The Factory at the Royal Exchange
Thursday 1st September 2016 15:21 Entertainment Features Posted by Adam Higgins

The Royal Exchange Young Company presented The Factory at their Swan Street Studio which covered six floors in a totally original concept of immersive experiential theatre. 

The production was directed by Matt Hassall, the Royal Exchange’s Young People’s Programme Leader and devised by the Young Company.

From the onset the experience was unpredictable as small groups of audience members were escorted on a site specific tour of the Chrysalis factory in a promenade production.

This production was innovative, unique and without doubt, extremely memorable.  The Factory endeavoured to provide solutions of social engineering to over population and poverty inspired by Jonathan Swift’s satirical 1729 essay A Modest Proposal.  

The experience was very surreal, uncomfortable and disconcerting, but the polished professionalism of the performers held us all captive in a dystopian vision of social structure of consumerism.

The small groups were individually assigned with their own department labels and issued with aprons to proceed on the tour which led us to various departments including, Marketing, Product Handling, Motivation and Spirical.

Designed by Bethany Wells with Sound Design by Gerry Marsden, this was extraordinary, as each department was created to evoke atmosphere, tension and a sense of utopia.

It was a claustrophobic experience in the confinements of the factory, especially in the bowels of the building and even though I wanted to understand the ideology, I was relieved to be finally let out of the oppressive factory and handing in my apron.

I was not quite sure what I had experienced, but knew that I would never see anything like it again which made it ingenious.  The Young Company have recently had success from their productions of Brink and Nothing and I am wondering what will be next?

 

By Denise Evans