An enthralling promenade thanks to Dreamthinkspeak
'In the Beginning Was the End' extravaganza surprises Somerset House audiences
What you need to know
Theatre company Dreamthinkspeak's new "site-responsive" production, In the Beginning was the End, has opened at Somerset House. The "promenade show", directed by Tristan Sharps, requires audience members to follow a path through the hidden passages that link King's College with Somerset House.
The show combines live performance, film and mechanics inspired by the hydraulic inventions of Leonardo Da Vinci. It explores questions of where science is taking humanity, and whether the world is on the verge of collapse or rebirth. Runs until 30 March.
What the critics like
This "enthralling" piece ponders mankind's uncertain destiny, says Dominic Cavendish in the Daily Telegraph. Audiences should keep their eyes open "for the surprises and wordless wonders" en route. It's an evening of "melancholy fun".
It's an oddball, puckish show, "ranging from deadpan comedy to soaring elegiac lyricism", says Paul Taylor in The Independent. The mix of live performance, witty absurdist videos and haunting "happenings" is sustained with "terrific logistical aplomb".
Dreamthinkspeaks's "audacious promenade show" has some great moments, says Dominic Maxwell in The Times. It's a real event from a cast and technical team who sustain their conceit with incredible commitment – and "you won't forget the nudes".
What they don't like
It's the sort of show "that requires audience members to join a great many dots for themselves", says Fiona Mountford in the Evening Standard - too many, according to some bewildered audience members. The messages could have been clearer, "but it is impossible not to admire such vision and large-scale ambition".