Review: On Cloud Nine

Semi-autobiographical in nature and stream-of-consciousness in form, monologue On Cloud Nine wrestles with some big issues

“Apparently in London everything is possible”

Written during 2020’s first lockdown and having its prospective run at The White Bear Theatre kyboshed by the second, the team behind On Cloud Nine opted for the streaming model that so many have gone for to get their theatre out there. But they’ve also gone the extra mile to collaborate with to deliver the show live, to be watched in real time at a specific time, capturing more of the special energy of going to the theatre above just pressing play at any time on a stream.

Written and performed by Mai Weisz, On Cloud Nine is billed as a semi-autobiographical play but nevertheless feels deeply personal, almost too much so as it delves deep into the stream-of-consciousness that accompanies a particular sleepless night. Mirroring the freewheeling nature of the subconscious, the Jewish-Israeli Weisz wrestles ideas of sexual, cultural, political and ethnic identities as they clash and recalibrate within her self, received wisdom duelling hard with lived experience.

The dreamlike nature of the show is captured well by director Laura Wohlwend, Sophie James Frost’s set design echoing billowing sheets. Chloe Stally-Gibson’s lighting choices also aid the almost hallucinogenic shifts from queer life to the Holocaust to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and back again, pushing at unanswerable questions and searching for reasons why, in a quest for some kind of contentment or perhaps just the ability to nod off.

At 45 minutes, On Cloud Nine feels about just the right length. Substantial enough to engage, and we do get an impressively rounded understanding of these issues yet in its fleetingly, fragmented state, it doesn’t labour them too hard nor push for resolutions that remain as frustratingly elusive as ever. 

Running time: 45 minutes
On Cloud Nine is streaming until 7th December

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