REVIEW: That Night Follows Day (Southbank Centre) ★★★★

That Night Follows Day is Forced Entertainment’s first performance as an associate company of the Southbank Centre. Originally produced in 2007 in Belgium, this is the first time the full production has been created in English and performed in the UK.

This show is performed by seventeen children aged between 8 and 15 years, speaking loud and clear to the adults in the audience and inviting us to take a long hard look at the things we say to children. The original version of the show was produced in 2007 in Ghent by Tim Etchells. Etchells worked with a group of young people to create the original show and replicated the process in summer 2018 in London to create an updated version. The questions posed to the group included ‘things your parents and guardians tell you’, the stupidest rule at your school’, ‘things on TV adults are always talking about’. Long lists were made that created this poetic performance, by turn funny, provocative, and poetic, running the range of emotions from joy, love and amusement to confusion, anger and frustration.

This production is performed mainly in English and British Sign Language, with a smattering of other languages spoken by the young people on stage, drawn from different communities across London. The two young men performing their lines in BSL are captivating; it’s hard to take your eyes off them and their high energy gestures.

The lines land well, knowing smiles and nods run through the audience as the adults recognise things they have said to young people over the years as peers, parents, family members, teachers and neighbours. The white lies and half truths, excuses and shushes. The words are spoken by the group as a whole, sub groups and individuals. The young performers move around the stage with ease, taking their places and holding their own. They are here to be listened to.

Reviewed by Rhiannon Evans
Photo: Hugo Glendinning


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