Brief encounters: X @Royalcourt


At some point in the third act there is a constant shouting of the word X. "X, x, x, x, x, x, x, x, x, x, x, x, x, x, x, x, x, x, x, x, x, x, x, x, x, x, x, x, x, x, x, x, x, x, x, x, x, x, x, x, x, x, x, " the characters exclaim. Constantly.

As a means to explain the loss of space and time in this futuristic story about a voyage to pluto, it is effective. But it also feels a bit like the rest of the piece. Relentlessly repetitive.

The story is that a spaceship to Pluto has lost its way and the crew slowly realise that all concept of time and continuity has been lost. They have no idea where they are, or the present or the past.

It looks great, with its 2001 a space odessey inspired set and projections. And I was chuffed to see that in the future everyone is wearing Vivobarefoot shoes. I think they are very comfortable and sensible even for the present day.

But the piece with a teasing and mysterious first half promises more than it ultimately delivers. I'm not sure having the cast running about screaming makes for a great night at the theatre.


And as a meditation on lost time, as a member of the audience, you may feel as if the joke is on you having been in the theatre for two hours watching it. It runs at the Royal Court until 7 May.

⭐︎⭐︎

Photo credit: production photos

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