Up For Something Entirely Different? Try Shunt

Overlooking The Jetty and Thames beyond.

Overlooking The Jetty and Thames beyond.

Describing The Boy Who Climbed Out Of His Face is quite a challenge. Have you ever fallen asleep in front of the TV only to wake up, disorientated, at 4am to find some bizarre programme flashing confusingly before your eyes, and after you finally drag yourself to bed and wake up the next morning you think: what on earth did I watch last night?

If your answer’s yes, then you might have a better idea of what to expect.

Shunt are known for the unknown. Consistently inconsistent. Transparently opaque. Their new production, set on The Jetty in Greenwich, is similarly dissimilar. We can say with great confidence that there are two things distinctly absent from this production: coherent narrative and comfort.

This is no sit-down production where you can have a crafty nap halfway through (you have to remove your shoes and socks and carry them around in a box, for goodness sake). But if you can get past the idea that a good show always has to be comfortable and tell a nice, clear story, then you may just be able to get on board with this.

We don’t want to spoil the surprises, but the performance is set within cleverly connected shipping containers. Walls collapse, hidden doors swing open, Willy Wonka-esque corridors lead you. The spaces are fun, distinct, unexpected and the performances within are… well… baffling. We think we went to an ecstasy-laden 90s rave, but can’t be too sure.

If you’ll allow us a bit of nauseating phrasing, the production is much more about the ‘experience’ than the ‘story’. In fact, it’s worth it for the ‘experience’ alone if you’re a curious sort who can bear to part with a tenner. That, and Greenwich Jetty, which is a stupendous spot to spend a late summers evening (try to coincide your visit with the sunset, you won’t regret it).

And if you’re spat out of the containers thinking “what the bloody hell? Why on earth did I spend £10 on that?” then there’s a bar, (very good) food, live music and spectacular views across the Thames to soften the rest of your evening.

The Boy Who Climbed Out Of His Face is at The Jetty, Greenwich Peninsula, SE10 OFL until 28 September. Tickets cost £10 and can be booked online. Please note that are some confined spaces and many periods of darkness as part of the performance. Londonist saw this show on a complimentary review ticket. 

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Article by Ruth Hargreaves | 172 Articles | View Profile

  • James Guppy

    I loved it – the finale was quite superb….

  • Mark

    Felt more like a montage of strung-together ideas that are each visually and experientially appealing, but the overall lack of narrative left you feeling as though you came away a little empty handed.

    If you’re already in the neighbourhood, it’s worth checking out – but I’d question if it’s worth the schlep out to Greenwich for if you’d have to travel far.