Review: Chronos @ Basic Space ****

The first person narrative is one that creates a unique relationship between audience and character. Putting the reader, watcher or player in their shoes (and even mind), it creates a connection and level of intimacy unparalleled. Some theatre has tapped into the potential of this genre: in Secret Cinema, you are immersed in a world and assigned a character, interacting with actors in other roles. This, however, is often within a group setting where your experience is dependent upon others. cmd+shift takes an unexpected and interesting step in live theatre, normally imagined for the masses. In Chronos, you are the only audience member in an immersive world with no actors.

Part of the Basic Space Festival 2017, this site sensitive show takes place in a safe-house in Peckham. On arrival, your character is determined by a toss of a coin. As you enter, narratives and relationships run throughout as your explore this house: your house. Playing on themes which are recognisable to all, it is almost too easy for a London audience to take on the role assigned. With thirty minutes to yourself, you are invited to explore and discover as much (or as little as you would like).

Out of the shell of a ‘chic derelict‘ house, cmd+shift manages to created an entire world in just four rooms. The space feels warm and inviting, breathing new life in its set dressing. I could have easily spent the whole time in the bedroom! Multimedia forms a major part of the experience, and the coordination of lights, sound and film is an impressive feat. Guiding you through the house, it’s a highly personal and profound experience.


Being the only audience member might seem a daunting prospect for traditional audiences: walking around a house by yourself is unnerving, even scary. In their first endeavour of this kind, cmd+shift creates a warm, safe space and asserts this throughout the experience. The very narrative is familiar and safe: a love story at its heart. Some may question why a love story would work in this space, however, as your time comes to an end, you see how the broken house serves as a suitable metaphor for the relationship.

What is most exciting, however, is the potential which cmd+shift has uncovered. Having triumphantly proved that this type of storytelling can work, the next step certainly seems to be varying the story itself. The space certainly lends itself to mystery or murder, and decision based ending certainly seems a possible step. However, would this lose the uniqueness of the story: looking for more, trying to uncover something, rather than experiencing it in the moment?

Whatever cmd+shift choose to do next, I am intrigued. Drawing on video game as inspiration, this is a game changing genre of live theatre.

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