Review: YOUARENOWHERE, LIFT 2016 at Shoreditch Town Hall

“The world happens, again and again and again”

You are now here or you are nowhere? Which is it? Does it matter? Has the amount of hype for this show torpedoed its chances with me? Will the fact I know there’s a ‘thing’ to watch out for ruin it? Should I have booked for the beginning of the run instead? Does it matter? Are we allowed to talk about how hot Andrew Schneider is? He gets a bit sweaty but that’s fine isn’t it? Have I got any Robyn on my iPhone? Why is it that hearing rave reviews from certain people turns me off? Does it really matter? Does any of it?

Presented by LIFT, Shoreditch Town Hall and Gate Theatre, Schneider’s YOUARENOWHERE arrived in East London for a brief week-long sojourn and preceded by such notices as those mentioned above, quickly became one of the hot tickets of the 2016 LIFT Festival. Which brings with it its own set of problems as I hate not being able to make up my own mind about something, hell it’s one of the reasons I’m a blogger so that I can tell other people what to think!

And with the admission that I am only human and occasionally not as open-minded as I want to be, I can admit that I went into YOUARENOWHERE with a (un)healthy deal of scepticism. It can’t be as good as people say, can it? And I left somewhat unsure as to whether it really was. Described as a “rapid-fire existential meditation”, it is a physics lecture slash performance art piece slash holy mindfuck. And even if I’m still not entirely convinced by its content, its form remains undoubtedly one of the most striking things on offer in LIFT or indeed across London right now.

Stunning light design, inordinate physicality, blistering sound work, the opening sequence introduces us to the strange world of Schneider’s creation. Jump-cuts that ought to be impossible see him move like lightning, split in two, question our reality, question his reality, as he then moves into visceral word-vomits about relativity and love and space and time. He says a lot but does it mean a lot? I don’t know but I do know that I’m still thinking about it. Did I feel any kind of emotional connection? Does it matter? I don’t think so but again, I’m still thinking about it. 

Which I suppose is part of the beauty of YOUARENOWHERE. That despite my reservations, despite the white noise of all that hype, the show has still worked its way into my subconscious, determined to make me have my own response to it. All this and some of the most jaw-dropping stagecraft you could hope to see, a series of coups de théâtre that leave you just wondering but how, and how did they, and did they just, and what the fuck. I’d better go load up some Robyn on a playlist.

Running time: 1 hour (without interval)
Photos: Maria Baranova
Booking until 18th June

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