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25 September, 2019

It's a sad state of affairs when the most interesting part is watching a technical fault get fixed...

To say I didn’t enjoy Invisible Cities is an understatement.

I’ve seen many productions in my time from the sublime to the ridiculous, from amateur student productions to the latest Broadway hits, from dull plays that I’ve had a power nap through to things on stage that were so confusing no amount of program notes could help me make sense of it.

And then this. To paraphrase The Simpsons’ Comic Book Man, Invisible Cities was the “Worst. Production. Ever.”

IMHO… Where do I even begin? Is it theatre? Is it dance? Is it music? Is it a live reading of an audiobook? Is it philosophy? Is it an elaborate joke from a performance artist designed to test our limits and see who cracks?

It could be all of these things but it did none of them well (except the last scenario perhaps).

On acting: Khan may have been doing his best to get his Shakespearean menace on but he was woefully under-supported by a Marco Polo who for reasons utterly inexplicable had a modern American accent (he lived from 1254 to 1324).

And even then he couldn’t seem to maintain the accent from one sentence to the next!

On dance: would’ve been great to see more of it.

There were a lot of bodies on stage but using handheld lights as stars is best left to high school rock eisteddfods rather than internationally-renowned professional productions headlining a major arts festival.

I will say that the beasts created by groups of dancers were a highlight (but a very brief one).

On the story: I’m all for interesting and brave choices (quite frankly we need more of them) but seriously, not only was there no plot, there was barely any drama and the allegedly profound statements about the built environment were ‘meh’ to say the least.

That’s right, if they can’t be bothered with a proper story then I can’t be bothered to think up a better word than ‘meh’.

In all honesty, the most dramatic and interesting part of the whole thing was a misbehaving curtain that failed to retract.

Seeing the silhouette of a ladder and someone scrambling to the top during a scene change was by far the highlight of what was an otherwise disappointing night at the theatre.