Entitled is about the theatre "get in". Coming into a bare space, the audience watch the technicians prepare it for a performance, then unpack everything again. In the middle – by far the flakiest part of the evening – the performing artists come on and do their thing.
Theatre company Quarantine are known for working with non-performers. Entitled follows the hit Susan & Darren, which drew you into the world of dancer Darren Pritchard and his mum. Entitled is a more rambling, less focused show. Dancers and technicians all talk, describe their lives, even sing.
The warmth that made Susan & Darren a hit is there in the technicians' performance. Greg Akehurst, Chris Whitwood and Lisa Mattocks describe their work as they do it, explaining what equipment they use, how it fits together, how it functions. "Side lights are commonly used in dance," explains Greg, "so you can see the dancer's whole body" – he gives a little skip – "in space."
The three technicians are very appealing: confident in their skills, in themselves. When the performers show up, they lack that grounding. Dancer Joanne Fong is handed a microphone for a sound test; instead of explaining what's going on, she burbles about her life and past. Fiona Wright, who describes the process of performance, comes off better. She ponders "people whose job it is to stand in the light", in theatres, in opera houses or – in a nod to Sadler's Wells main stage – "next door".
Sonia Hughes – the writer on both Entitled and Susan & Darren – seems exposed as a performer. Her material is autobiographical, but she isn't a strong enough stage presence to provide her own momentum.
The middle section, the closest Entitled comes to a traditional performance, is weak. The performers assume they have a right to be heard, but have less to say than the people who aren't normally in the spotlight. Perhaps that's the point, but it seems reductive.
The show regains its bounce when the technicians come back. This time, they think about the future. They go from planning a post-show drink to dreaming of their future lives. As Lisa imagines Christmas shopping, or Greg plans a mix tape for his sister, the show's charm is back at full force.
In rep to 1 October (0844 412 4300) then touring ( www.qtine.com)Reuse content