Strange things are happening in The Basement, Brighton’s buzzy home for avant-garde theatre.
In honour of the festival, the venue has transformed its performance, front-of-house and backstage spaces into one big rambling, disorientating house. Behind its makeshift walls and fake front doors, six of the country’s most intriguing performers have taken up residence – Bryony Kimmings in the sitting room, Martin Lewton (naked, in the bath) in the bathroom, that kind of thing – and are waiting for visitors.
Things get off to a rambunctious start over Coco Pops in the kitchen with The Two Wrongies, a saucy female double act who reinterpret Morecambe and Wise’s breakfast sketch to smile-inducing effect. Then it’s down a passageway to stare through a window at Kimmings’ depressing drug den. From here on in, things get decidedly darker. I was thoroughly spooked by Rosie Ward’s Breathing Space, a ghostly installation of footsteps, heavy breathing and glimpsed white skirts in a pitch black corridor before a final bedtime story with a sinister twist. Like the setting, the piece is rather rambling - a series of odd snapshots, some of which are more successful than others - but it’s an intriguing and unsettling peek behind closed doors, nevertheless.
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