As New Art Club’s Quiet Act of Destruction begins, with charismatic duo Tom Roden and Pete Shenton directing the audience to their seats, their ability to connect with strangers in a playful way is immediately apparent.
The audience are clearly up for it — ‘it’ being participation — and thus begins a riot of an evening, that happily (and cleverly) shifts a bunch of adults into a cheeky, child-like state.
The premise of the show is a petty conflict between two local villages over the naming of a train station. The audience are divided into rival villages who compete in mildly-ridiculous village fete games, competing for points, and climaxing in an enormous bread-fight.
However, amidst all this carefree excitement, a bigger picture emerges when we’re asked to stop and contemplate the death of local young men back in the Battle of the Somme, and on a smaller scale, the manslaughter of an injured bullfinch; events which highlight the triviality of the village ‘war’. It’s sobering to realise the abandon with which you joined in the antics, and strangely consoling when asked to re-join.
This heady mix of comedy with a light touch of tragedy, and New Art Club's ability to respond to heckling with wit and heart is what makes this a very special show. If you have even the smallest of funny-bones in your body you’ll be won over and have a great deal of fun, even if you are really trying not to.
New Art Club: Quiet Act of Destruction is at Soho Theatre until Saturday 13 October (no shows Sunday/Monday) at 9.15pm. Tickets for tonight are £10, from tomorrow £15.
Ticket offer: quote 'destruction' when booking to bag £10 tickets for tonight and Saturday night's shows.