Lightness in the dark

18 April 2019

Alicja Baranowska recounts a Magic Hour in the dark

Most films and TV shows record a scene again and again until it fulfils the director’s vision. But theatre is different. It allows for a certain freedom. And no matter how many times you have rehearsed or been through technical aspects of your show, unexpected situations arise. Things sometimes go wrong. So expect the unexpected. 

Tuesday's performance by Quick Duck Theatre suddenly turned into a one-time experience when the blackout in this part of Leicester happened, with a few buildings around the area losing power. 2Funky Music CafĂ© was one of them. Magic Hour: The Murder Mystery Disco! already has an intriguing concept on its own. Quick Duck Theatre brings interactive theatre to the audience and engages people to solve the mystery of the murder of Sterling Dollair (Lucy Bird) at Club de Pompidou, so you know you will have an exciting evening. The performance that night turned into something more unexpected.

For a second, being rushed from the building to stand outside in the cold April evening almost seemed like it was part of the show. The management and technical teams kept it calm and the performers walked between the audience, almost in the same manner as when inside the Club de Pompidou. They joked around relating to the subject of the mystery murder at the disco. While for a brief moment we were uncertain of what was happening and whether the show will be able to continue, it quickly evolved. For its last performance at NSDF, Magic Hour... became a unique experience.

After a stressful day of running around, I went for a show with the premise of the interactive, an entertaining thriller. While in a sense that’s I exactly what got, it wasn’t what I (or anyone, counting the actors) expected. I am utterly impressed with the level of professionalism of all involved in yesterday’s showing. By the time we all were directed to assemble in the 2Funky Music Cafe’s outdoors area, the performance had found way a to continue. After a short dance initiated by lovely and talented performers, we were instructed to solve the mystery at the disco, even if we didn’t know all the facts from the suspects because the performance had been interrupted. It didn’t stop anyone. With the help of phones torches and fairy lights, the investigation began once again. Because the show must go on.

They improvised. They adapted. They made the audience feel involved and continued the show despite unexpected and somewhat tricky circumstances. And they did it well. I went to see Magic Hour... for entertainment, needed after a long day. The blackout wasn’t exactly relaxing, but I did laugh. 

Improvising is stressful and I admire the skills and attitude Quick Duck Theatre’s performers had (alongside with the venue staff). I am not a performer. I am happy to sit down and (attempt to) write a short story in one go, or scribble a few lines of a poem. But I will still return and edit it later. The beauty of theatre when the unexpected happens is that it stays unedited. Raw. Fresh. And Unique.

@noffmag / [email protected]

Image credit: Beatrice Debney