Reviewed by Ruby Isla Cera Marle
One Tenth Human and China Plate
Reviewed at Shoreditch Town Hall
Playing at The Edge Community Centre, London 19th – 22nd April
For ages 8-11
We’re Stuck is an interactive theatrical adventure that combines robots, problem solving, hilarity, mild peril and maths. The headquarters of Volcano Industries is nestled beneath Shoreditch Town Hall, and Dr. Astrid Volcano, a leader in artificial intelligence, has invited a group of aspiring professors to take a behind the scenes tour of her futuristic research facility.
Unable to conduct the tour herself, we’re left in the not so capable hands of her haphazard twin brother Dr. Ernest Volcano (Seiriol Davies), bumbling assistant Dr Bernard Fenugreek (Daniel Bye) and astute intern Dikita Dey (Kirsten Foster). The unlikely trio lead us through the labyrinthian passage ways to the robotics room, where we’re encouraged to shout out coordinates in order to manipulate the robots’ movements. We’re Stuck is extremely well paced, spending just enough time so that everybody in the room feels confident with an idea, without spending so long that attention spans have a chance to wander.
When a dancing robot malfunctions into kill mode, the stakes are quickly raised: we must use our problem solving skills to save the day! We’re Stuck feels like a child-friendly cross between an escape room and The Crystal Maze. Crammed with escapades and high energy tomfoolery, there are codes to crack and lasers to deactivate. Who knew that maths could be so engaging?
Alongside the educational elements of One Tenth Human and China Plate’s production, there is a great deal of fun to be had. As Ernest, Davies’ slapstick and oafish nature is a real delight, including hilarious interjections into the action – though the group are only allowed five questions to solve the all-important entry code, Davies decides to ask “If the number were a piece of clothing, what kind of clothing would it be?” The young audience seem to throughly enjoy being able to shout out and correct him as he repeatedly gets things wrong.
One of the key message of We’re Stuck is the importance of perseverance. Reaffirming the notion that it is okay to make mistakes, and instilling the mantra ‘if at first you don’t succeed, try and try again’. We’re Stuck is aimed at 8-11 year olds, and personally I think it pitched very well – it is fun, interactive and never patronising. This promenade piece cleverly intertwines theatre and educational takeaways that will no doubt be firmly rooted in the audiences’s neurons for a very long time.
Ruby currently works for artsdepot as their Digital Marketing Officer. In her spare time she can often be found in a theatre, soaking up the cultural metropolis that is London, or eating tapas. To read some of her other reviews check out her blog or follow her on Twitter @RubyIsla_CM