Review: KlaxAlterian Sequester (Edinburgh Fringe, online)

Dutch Kills Theater presents an audio adventure in which you are sent on a bizarre time-travel tale in your own house.

As if the recent lockdown wasn’t bad enough, Ben Beckley and Asa Wember’s KlaxAlterian Sequester promises that things will only get worse, as intelligent extra-terrestrial life is set to take over the human race later in 2021.

Beckley’s is the face you see periodically trying to make contact from the future, to add a warning caveat to the alien discussions of what the day-to-life of kitchen, bathroom, bedroom tells about how the human body works.

Using a variety of texts and musical interludes, you as the audience member are invited to plug headphones into your smartphone and go on a voyage of discovery in your own home.

Despite having a vague promise of doom – and a promise that the show ‘will be continued’ – KlaxAlterian Sequester is sometimes a show which finds itself muddled.

Promotional image for KlaxAlterian Sequester

The heavily detailed and wordy descriptions of our bodily orifices and their functions is increasingly bizarre, as if we are on the outside looking in at the ridiculousness of our selves – more than half water, stuck in a routine of feeding, sleeping, excreting.

I found myself interested enough in the show to see it through to the end, but not really invested enough to wonder what the story was actually about. The voice from the future was looking for something, but we are never quite sure what, or whether he can be trusted.

This show revels in its bleakness, but remains frustratingly out of reach. It is certainly well-crafted, but for me it fell short in its mission to show humans through alien eyes, or to give any sense of how aliens might use the information they have collected.

Ultimately, KluxAlterian Sequester has very clever moments which make you think and gives the chance to continue to play with the digital form, but isn’t quite there yet.

Fringe rating: ***

You can stream KlaxAlterian Sequester online as part of the Assembly Showcaster venue at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, until the end of August. Book your ticket here.