This evening I was invited to attend a performance of bRENT: A Mobile Thriller, a theatre experience conceptualised by Quintin Wils. It’s a show that sells out easily, as the venue, a car only has capacity for a cast member and 3 audience members.
This was not my first experience of the Mobile Thriller experience as I attended aLEXA at the Wits 969 Festival two years ago, when it was included on the lineup after a successful run in Grahamstown. I am impressed with how the team behind the Mobile Thriller concept have worked the same model, and created a performance that is much more believeable, and genuinely thrilling in the darkest sense of the word.
The show begins outside the Eldo Little Theatre (better known, I suspect, as the Eldo Klein Teater) where the audience of three is picked up by a nervous but excited Brent who is taking us along to a party he’s invited to, to meet with someone his mother is trying to hook him up with. After a short car trip to the venue for this party we learn a bit about Brent’s background, sexuality and his hopes for the party.
As with previous Mobile Thrillers, audience participation is expected, although the rules of engagement are explained up front and a disclaimer is signed, who knows what could happen out on the road or on location? The party is a small affair, that starts out well, until revelations of belief in gay conversion therapy surfaces, the mood turns… how it turns I will not say as telling anymore would result in spoilers.
On this particular occasion (the show changes depending on audience reaction and participation providing different cues each performance) the audience sat horrified almost too stunned to move. Discussing the show afterwards, an audience member described how the show made her feel drained physically, more so than emotionally, creating in her a physical experience of shock and horror that was not expected.
This is a piece of theatre that certainly lives up to all expectations created by calling itself a thriller. The cast of Vianney Henry Farmer and Herman Vorster truly become their characters making the experience authentic. Herman Vorster who plays Brent also scripted the piece, with all its multiple cues that respond to audience responses and behaviour, much like the ‘choose your own adventure’ books I loved so much as a kid, only this time the audience isn’t ever really aware of what they’re choosing or when.
The show has an age restriction of no under 18s and for good reason, this is certainly not for sensitive viewers. With only three seats per show it is best to book NOW to avoid disappointment, and I highly recommend this to anyone seeking a truly original theatre experience.