I wanted to try out something from The Yard Online’s day of fun, and chose No Show, a Zoom performance which sounded something a bit different – I am not familiar at all with the stage version other than understanding it is broadly improvised.

It’s fair to say that “different” is right!

Fifteen minutes in, the audience, instructed to keep our screens on speaker view, are still waiting for the show “to start”. Chat about cooking, eating, and lockdown eventually leads into a post-it on a random screen with a web address to summon “the reluctant performer”.

This feels like a show that probably worked far better in a live theatre setting rather than being led by planted audience members in the call (I figured out quite early on that this show relies on scripted prompt to some degree to keep moving).

I’m not keen on “immersive” performances although “interactive” can be fun: No Show plays with the idea of performer, performances, who is which and what, but without having audience members to see as a group and bounce off, I found it confusing at times, and I felt detached from it.

Christopher Green seems to be a performer of charisma, with interesting body language, and a vision in pink, but the eventual fun for me was an occasional switch to gallery view to see how my fellow audience members were reacting to what was going on!

Another observation would be that live Zoom isn’t always well-behaved over weak internet connections, and sadly for me No Show was blighted by audio problems for a large chunk of its stream.

I approach this review from the viewpoint of “confused critic”, experiencing a show which is something of a frustrating view for an armchair viewer. I didn’t feel I understood enough about what I was watching to get involved.

I appreciate Green and The Yard’s vision in trying to present this in live lockdown format, and it is certainly innovative, but for me the crux of true “performance” is being together, laughing together, catching each other’s eye, sparking off each other, coming together as one.

No Show made me miss being at a show. I really, really, miss being in a live space.

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