london calling Punchdrunk is perfection unchdrunk is a British theatre company like no other immersive, experimental, ostentatious and beautiful! Punchdrunk’s founder, Felix Barrett (right), has a unique and revolutionary approach towards theatrical events, and the world is becoming engulfed in their magic. Barrett wants to push the limits of curiosity and also push the limits of the audience’s comfort zones. From Sleep No More in New York City to The Drowned Man in London, Punchdrunk provides a one-of-a-kind experience that can never be repeated. Even if you go to either production repeatedly, your experiences will differ dramatically. I have been to see The Drowned Man on four occasions and each time it is strikingly different. They achieve this via their philosophy of letting the audience choose where they go within the sprawling set, and letting the audience choose what characters they want to follow. Felix said, “The one thing I would hate is to be rolling out the same predictable fare, just because it’s easy. With creativity and practice – sometimes the more of a battle it is, the more you surprise yourself.” Even after seeing The Drowned Man several times I feel as though I have not even seen half of what is on offer to me theatrically. It’s a gem of a production and after more than a year’s run in Central London, the show will be closing and Punchdrunk will continue developing more thrilling and revolutionary work, blurring the lines of reality and fantasy for the audience. Last week I attended a Punchdrunk workshop (‘professional development’), led by Fernanda Prata (Punchdrunk’s rehearsal director) and Punchdrunk veteran actress, Sarah Dowling, who
by Rik BARNETT
flawlessly plays Delores Grey in The Drowned Man. Held in their current venue, Temple Studios, an intimate group of eight got to work and perform within the Drowned Man set. I gained the ability to develop my physical response and connection to others and the space around me. It also enabled me to react and work
“Punchdrunk provides a one-of-a-kind experience that can never be repeated. I have been to see ‘The Drowned Man’ on four occasions and each time it is strikingly different.