‘Losers’ at The Rag Factory

image01Tit4Twat Theatre presents ‘Losers’ at The Rag Factory (just off Brick Lane in East London). Originally derived from a dissertation of four Theatre graduates from the University of Warwick, ‘Losers’ is a darkly comic exploration of the dubious world of reality TV, the relationship with the general public and just how far some people will go for their 15 minutes of fame!

LOSERS is a show about four reality TV ‘rejects’ who will stop at nothing, and I literally mean nothing, in order to impress us, the studio audience and to gain our vote.

We need to be clear from the outset that this isn’t your ordinary show in your stereotypical theatrical space.  If a night of traditional theatre is what you’re looking for then stear clear.   If however you’re open to a thought provoking evening of entertainment with a satirical look at modern society then you need to take advantage of this short run.

As you enter this unusual space off Brick Lane you are really unsure as to what to expect. Is this a comedy? Is it a student show? Is it environmental theatre? Or is it a reflection of society and celebrity obsession? (from both perspectives – as ‘celebrity’ and the adoring public) The answer is that it’s a little bit of each. A cleverly constructed dramatical piece that educates and challenges throughout the performance.

As a ‘live studio audience’ we get armed with handsets to make our votes count as the four contestants compete in live rounds with dire personal consequences. With various game show/reality TV elements this show has all the components to be as good as anything you’ll see on TV with a much darker twist.

The four actors Arthur Jones, Sophie Thompson, Rachel Johnson and Will Barratt all put in strong performances that are believable and ever so slightly desperate as they go through the various rounds of physical, personal and mentally torturous rounds – with the very real threat of having to lose something dear to them. Stand out performances come from Arthur Jones who knows to work (flirt with!) an audience to avoid a daring forfeit  and Sophie Thompson who delivers a convincing and heart felt, yet slightly needy version of her character, who is longing for the spotlight.

The performers are new to this arena but have a wonderful concept and deliver with conviction this exciting and bold new play.

I reiterate, this isn’t a ‘normal’ night at the theatre – there is audience participation and awkwardness, public embarrassment and down right cruelness but it is also hugely representative of our modern world and well worth a watch . . . On the surface a light hearted, tongue-in-cheek student show whilst underneath lies a deeply multi-layered message about society’s unhealthy obsession with celebrity and reality TV.

Losers is playing at the Rag Factory until 1 February 2015. For more information and to book tickets click here.

Reviewed by Matthew Wren Andrew