Theatre review: The Caravan

The Caravan performed by Look Left, Look Right at the Ustinov, Bath

the caravan

Look Left Look Right bring their audience onto the stage with them. Performed in a rickety-looking caravan by a cast of four to groups of six, the actors are never more than a few feet away from the playgoers seated on the built-in sofa, and are always performing with rather than to them. The interaction is subtle – the actors look you in the face as they speak, offer round a plate of custard creams, and occasionally brush against you as they move around the tiny space – but profound.

The Caravan, you see, isn’t a fiction: it’s theatre-verité, the script drawn from interviews with those affected by the 2007 floods, and delivered in extraordinarily conversational style (possibly directly imitating the original recordings, which are available to listen to before the show). There’s an incalculable tension is every hesitation and forgetful second, and you wonder how the actor will get to the end of the line.

It’s in the bathos of small losses that the grave horror of losing home and security is revealed: the possessions that are rediscovered washed halfway up a tree, the laminate that’s relaid in the wrong direction. In the intimate world of The Caravan, you feel those losses too. Superb.

stars copy

Edit 11 August 2009 Related: “Washed out”

© Sarah Ditum, 2009. This piece originally appeared in Venue, issue 877.