The pun may be incidental, but for many Londoners Cross the STYX really is out in the sticks (though the journey to N17 wasn't helped by tube strikes and getting lost on a Tottenham industrial estate).
Is it worth the journey? Yes, if you like your theatre utterly immersive. If you're a traditionalist who prefers passive entertainment, steer clear. This is bold stuff.
Without ruining the mystery and surprises, participants are given headphones through which they listen to a dark, dreamy narrative. Entrance is staggered and you are admitted in groups of two, which makes the experience eerily intimate.
So often with immersive shows, it is jostling into fellow audience members that reminds you of the falsity and performance. But, through a series of one-on-one encounters with actors, and after being lead, blindfolded, it is easy to lose yourself in the story. The urge for sceptical smirks and awkwardness is overridden by actors that are unwaveringly committed to the conceit.
The personal audio soundtrack forms a backdrop and injects a strangeness to the confrontations with characters (should you try to talk?). But the actual narrative is secondary to the sensations provoked on this strange journey. It's dark -- literally and figuratively -- and richly poetic. But, after returning to the real world after the 40 minute journey, we struggled to recall the plot details, and it felt more like a surreal dream than theatre.
Though the whole production and the decked outdoor bar space has a studenty scruffiness around the edges, and is not quite like the sleek operations you get from the likes of Shunt and Punchdrunk, what it lacks in polish it makes up for in imagination. It's the little details that charm. The bar was ramshackle, but made a mean pomegranate mojito. And it's worth booking to receive the tickets in the post: forget standard seat numbers, the STYX tickets set the tone for a creative and intriguing experience.
|What||RIFT: Cross the Styx|
5 Ashley Road, Tottenham, London , N17 9LJ | MAP
|Nearest tube||Tottenham Hale (underground)|
01 Jul 15 – 01 Aug 15, Time slots from 6pm onwards
|Website||Click here to book via Rift Theatre|