Mind The Game: Das Spiel Gets Inside Your Head

Ruth Hargreaves
By Ruth Hargreaves Last edited 38 months ago
Mind The Game: Das Spiel Gets Inside Your Head ★★★★☆ 4

DAS-SPIEL-web_main_460_578_95_sLondonist Rating: ★★★★☆

You’ve found The Game. Or rather, The Game has found you. Maybe you are The Game. Perhaps The Game was always in you.

Either way, you’re playing. Or being played. It’s hard to tell.

Upstairs at Ovalhouse is Das Spiel, a delightful nugget of interactive, mindreading theatre devised and performed by Philipp Oberlohr. No doubt the Derren Brown comparison is tedious, but that’s the sort of experience you can expect. With an intimate audience of around 40, a handful of individuals are chosen at random and information only they could know is teased out in a series of clever segments.

But Das Spiel isn’t just smart. It’s funny, very funny, and that goes a long way when the idea of standing in the spotlight with your mind open to a “master” makes your stomach turn. Far from the top-hatted, hammy, moustachioed magicians of old, Oberlohr is charming, erudite, humble, encouraging and — dare we say it — pretty normal. An open demeanour and pithy sense of humour allows us to feel like we’re all in on the joke, although he is clearly the only one who knows the punchline.

We don’t want to spoil the surprises, but Oberlohr is consistently spot-on with his guesses (are they guesses? can we call them that?). The facts at hand aren’t deep and meaningful — we’re talking names, songs and dates rather than long lost messages from your Great Aunt Fanny — but they all still beg the question: how on earth did he know that?

But not just content with reveals that leave the audience chittering in surprise, Das Spiel also includes a lovely sense of narrative as audience members — and their personal information — are woven into a storyline that is really quite charming.

The staging is simple, no smoke and mirrors here. In fact, furnishings are almost non-existent, apart from a couple of chairs... and that curious envelope hanging from the ceiling…

Das Spiel is at Ovalhouse, 52-54 Kennington Oval, London, SE11 5SW until 16 May. Tickets cost £10/£6 and can be booked online here. Londonist saw this show on a complimentary review ticket.

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Last Updated 13 May 2015