'Hotel Confessions' review or 'Did you order an audience with your room service?'
'Hotel Confessions', Bermondsey Square Hotel (in association with Southwark Playhouse)
A double bill of new plays, Building Site Theatre Company:
Written for Time Out
Look in a cave or a tunnel and you'll probably find some site-specific theatre inside. But while these shows are deeply atmospheric, the link between play and location is often spurious.
This isn't so with Building Site's immersive 'Hotel Confessions', which presents two new plays set in a hotel. The show begins in Bermondsey Square reception: a porter directs you to your 'seat' and real-life guests mingle curiously. A man, dressed in 60s attire, sweeps in. He's desperate for a bed but the only space left is an occupied room. He grudgingly agrees and the audience follows him upstairs.
It is intensely unsettling, watching two strangers gruffly confess in the dark. But the play feels sparse. Anouke Brook's 'Night in the Hotel' is based on a short story and there's not enough time, or theatrical effects, to build up the pervasive atmosphere a narrative normally provides.
Nessah Aisha Muthy's 'Freya and Mr Mushroom' is contemporary and the ambience is more overwhelming, the script less stiff. This eerie play has 'Lolita' overtones, as a guest (Mark Carlisle - compelling) and young girl talk and tease. Both plays are a touch too surreal though, distancing the audience from an otherwise claustrophobic piece.