Friday 18 October 2019 6:53 am

Out of Order at Southbank Centre review: It's hard to stay focused on this experimental, dialogue-free play

If you’re going to see Out of Order, the latest project by experimental theatre company Forced Entertainment, you’ll need to leave your understanding of what constitutes a play at the door.

There’s no dialogue – instead, you watch a group of six mime-clowns in tartan suits repeatedly trying to sit down at a table as if they are about to start a meeting. Then one of them gets annoyed, and they chase each other around the stage, start fights and play silly tricks on each other before once again returning to the table.

That, repeated a dozen times, is the whole 90 minutes.

Out of Order is supposed to be a commentary on the state of our political leadership and how any attempt to get things done ends in farce. It’s a relevant subject, but it doesn’t benefit from being stretched out over an hour and a half.


Deeper meaning aside, the play will probably appeal to fans of slapstick and physical comedy. The actors do the best with the means available to them – facial expressions, silly walks, some clown paraphernalia – but with no semblance of plot it’s a real struggle to give it your full attention.

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