Theatre review: Pioneer at Shoreditch Town Hall

Curious Directive's Pioneer at Shoreditch Town Hall. Picture: JMA Photography

Curious Directive's Pioneer at Shoreditch Town Hall. Picture: JMA Photography - Credit: Archant

This deep space drama is surely set to take off, says Emily Govan.

Jack Lowe’s production debuting at the Shoreditch Town Hall, provides a fascinating insight into what the future might look like if humanity ended up in space. And of course even today it is not such a far-fetched idea. The year is 2029, and following the first human mission to Mars which disappeared without trace, a reclusive Indian billionaire has funded Ghara 1, a new attempt to achieve the dream.

The trail blazers for this initiative are Imke and Oskar, a young Dutch couple, scientists tasked with trying to grow crops on Mars’ unforgiving surface. It’s frustrating and unrewarding work, and Imke grows agitated, missing the familiar sights and sounds of Earth.

Suddenly the pair are mysteriously separated as the project begins to go awry, and Imke is determined to find her loved one.

There are problems on the Earth’s surface as well, as Mrs Singh, the rich investor for the project, is threatening to remove funding if the initial couple do not settle in well.

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Meanwhile in Siberia, two Russian brothers reconnect by driving a Lada Sputnik 1.3 in a dude road movie “Louise and Thelma”, as they search for the birth of space travel in homage to their space-faring cosmonaut ancestor.

Alyosha (James Hardy) is the optimisitic, forward-thinking American-educated young brother. Ivan (Jesse Briton) is the older sibling who romanticises the legends of their past.

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The show uses a variety of innovative multi-media techniques to tell the story, from the starting point of a set space consisting simply of three large, white round boxes which we see various projections through.

A truly original and ambitious, well-realised show, this is not only a sci-fi thriller but also a reminder of what we need today – the importance of emotional relationships around us to whatever we desire to achieve.

Rating: 5/5 stars

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