Tag Archives: KK Null



Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry, Wednesday 2nd October, 2014


Forced Entertainment’s new show makes for another unusual night at the theatre. On the surface it is unstructured and free-form – a free-for-all, even! But as it goes on, the shape of the piece emerges.

It begins with a kind of classroom situation. Two instructors face a dozen ‘students’ who repeat everything they say: facts and aphorisms that become increasingly surreal or ridiculous. Music and sound from the onstage performer (KK Null) encroaches – dissonant and above all: loud. The class breaks up. One by one they fetch cut-outs of leafless trees from the back wall and build a forest that moves and glides around the stage… Someone brings on a couple of wooden chests: dressing-up boxes from which the cast withdraw items of clothing and props: household items like saucepans and mops.

Soldiers emerge. The cast play at war. Here the piece is like watching a children’s playground. Like children, the actors transform the objects through imagination. A pan becomes a helmet, a broom a gun. Lengths of red ribbon represent bloodshed. The imagery is familiar to us all. Horrific images emerge: a couple with sacks on their heads are gunned down as they flee. There is humour two: a gunman has trouble getting a quartet of skeletons to put their hands in the air…

Absorbed in their individual scenarios, the actors/kids tear around, unselfconscious in their imaginative play. Other characters materialise: medieval princesses in tall coned hats, kings in tinfoil crowns… Cut out pieces become a dragon… The scenes change gradually – there is a lot of running to and fro and they don’t half make a mess – but eventually the child’s-play gives way to something more beautiful. Stylised clouds form a skyscape. Cut-out waves become a rolling sea…

For the most part, the sound and music design jars with the action, keeping us alienated and distant. Silence when it comes is more effective.

As a whole, it’s a surreal landscape, populated with childhood memories but I think it dwells too much on individual sequences. The point made, it should move on to the next, but sections are drawn out unnecessarily, I feel. There is value in repetition and its cumulative effect, but it’s a fine balance between effectiveness and disengaging.

For me, it’s the playground as metaphor for human endeavour. Watching the ‘kids’ at play, it feels like a Grown-up should appear to restore order or tell them all off, but it never happens. Just as there is no God who intervenes in human affairs – affairs which are just like silly games when compared to elemental or cosmic power.

It’s a challenging watch and not an easy listen but yet again Forced Entertainment deliver an original piece of theatre where the whole is more than the sum of its parts.