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Mind Out
Published on Friday, 28 August 2009

Mind Out is one of those pieces of theatre that keeps you on edge until the very end – and even then, you are still not completely certain what exactly has happened on the stage. Devised as a bold theatrical experiment with physical elements, the fourth project of the London based theatre group, Station House Opera, strikingly interprets humans “being out of their mind”.

Although the programme describes the play as plotless and lacking characters, the names and vague shadows of characters and an outline of a flat story were gradually introduced. The play exploits an unusual technique of dividing the body and mind of the actors on stage who, during the play, give instructions to the others - and follow their instructions in return.

It produced a slightly chaotic and grotesque performance, which didn’t follow any logical threads but instead developed its own world of absurdity; of genius, love, self-indulgence, fear, aggression. The simple instructions at the beginning – to make a cup of tea or have a biscuit – gradually grew more and more grim and complicated. They developed from the pleasure of playing practical jokes on the others, to the confusing state of passive philosophical reflections, ultimately leading to destructive actions.

The culmination of it all is sudden and bizarre, as an actor leaves the stage to be replaced... but no, I won't spoil the surprise. Finally, the five actors order themselves to depart - and it's over, just as strangely as it began.

Mind Out is a goofy and enormously entertaining show. It works as a stand-up comedy, told through actions; the bodies of the actors suddenly lose their human dimension and turn into puppets, manipulated from outside. It sounds a bit scary, it is not. It is, in fact, very funny.

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