Control 25 @ Liverpool City Centre
It is not every day that a stranger breaks up with you within the intimate confines of his car; an enthusiastic lady in a cowboy hat encourages you to climb aboard a Superlambanana; and a Queen Bee invites you to sway to her rhythm. It is not every day that you are fortunate enough to encounter an event like Control 25.
Liverpool’s very first one-on-one theatre festival, Control 25, crash-landed in the city centre amid the bustle of Saturday afternoon shoppers, slithering along the populated streets and stretching its tendrils into public toilets, dilapidated houses and University buildings.
With four routes to choose from, each varying in levels of risk and adventure, the festival invites you to surrender control, take control and question the parameters of fiction and reality.
Produced by the wonderful Sarah Hogarth and Emma Bramley of All Things Considered (and funded by Arts Council England), Control 25 invited participants of Hope Streets Emerging Artist Programme to shape the routes, guided by the expert hand of one-on-one practitioners Sharron Devine, Ant Hampton and Seth Honnor.
Commandeering the foyer of FACT, a team of artists clad in Control 25 t-shirts hand excited audience members yellow stickers depicting their route. The magic begins.
Each route includes a series of encounters, which are carefully executed. From an audio directed date in a busy pub to a bout of clandestine note-passing under a toilet door, the experience is fast paced, fluid and invigorating. The logistical planning that allows each experience to spill into the next is incomprehensible and deserves huge recognition, while the performers allow the participant to engage with the individual experience to the extent with which they feel comfortable.
Intelligent and exhilarating – with plenty of scope to expand and develop – Control 25 may have lasted only a day, but its presence will be felt well into the future.