Forced Entertainment [Sheffield]

First Night

First Night
First Night


Disastrous vaudeville theatre at its best

“Ladies and Gentlemen. While you’re with us tonight, we’d like to ask you to try to forget about the outside world completely. Try not to think about anything outside of this room. Anything at all. Try to forget about cars, and meetings, cigarettes, and road accidents. Try to forget about births and deaths and funerals. And bereavements. Try not to think about dustbins, and litter on the street. Try not to think about agonies and bitterness and smiles. And sadness. And the kind of bitterness that comes from making one really big mistake. And the kind of regret that comes from making many many many many small mistakes...”

It is already clear from the opening scene of First Night: this is Forced Entertainment in its purest form. There are eight performers on stage. Unpredictable. Humouring. Aggressive. Recognisable. Are they being honest with us, or are they playing a game? What starts as warm words of welcome soon degenerates into a whirlwind of dark prophecies for the future, psychotic-escapist scenes and unexpected dance steps.

The interplay between performer and spectator is one of this company’s hobbyhorses. The audience is first confided in, then taunted or lied to. First Night is theatre at the cutting edge, ‘diverting, accessible and viciously funny’ (The Guardian). It was a great success at the 2002 Kunstenfestivaldesarts and is now on at the Kaaitheater for the first time.

direction Tim Etchells 
performers Robin Arthur, Jerry Killick, Richard Lowdon, Claire Marshall, Cathy Naden, Terry O’Connor, John Rowley, K Michael Weaver