'Above and Beyond' or 'It's tough to immerse yourself in muddied waters'

'Above and Beyond', Look Left Look Right
Corinthia Hotel, Tuesday 19th March 2013
Written for Time Out

As I wait for my ‘turn’ in Look Left Look Right’s one-on-one immersive show, staff hover about me and the Champagne flows freely. I feel like a rich and beautiful guest at the five-star Corinthia Hotel. Unfortunately, once the show begins, the bubbles fizzle away and confusion sets in.

It is a staff training day and we’ve been chucked in at the deep end. Simple tasks become supremely tricky; our dinner guests are bickering and a VIP guest has gone missing. It is our job, as the hired help, to keep the increasingly barmy guests happy. As we scuttle between tasks, we whizz through plush dining rooms, spas and penthouses. It’s like an incredibly posh merry-go-round: the hotel itself is gobsmackingly grand, but the overall experience feels ropey.

Writers Katie Lyons and Morgan Malcolm have tried to do too much here. The scenes jump across multiple time zones and, while this allows us to learn about the hotel’s history, it’s very distracting. It’s hard to lose oneself in the moment when you’re in the midst of a war one minute and a modern spa the next. Immersive theatre just isn’t going to work in such muddied waters.


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