SETTING: A LABYRINTH THAT DOESN’T ALWAYS RESEMBLE A LABYRINTH

Another ridiculous falsehood has it that I am a prisoner. Shall I repeat that there are no locked doors, shall I add that there are no locks? Besides, one afternoon I did step into the street; If I returned before night, I did so because of the fear that the faces of the common people inspired in me, faces as discoloured and flat as the palm of one's hand.
BORGES - LA CASA DE ASTERION 

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To create a space that never existed is what interests me. To create something that has never been. A space that we have never entered except in our minds and our spirits.  
This space belongs to us. It belongs to our families.
It is liberty.
It is Europe.
It is what we dream.
DANIEL LIBESKIND - 12 WORDS OF ARCHITECTURAL INSPIRATION (ADAPTED AS THE OPENING SPEECH OF THE SHOW)

In the myth of the minotaur, adults destroy their own children through shame, love and ambition.


A selection of the wild variety of critical response, compiled by Louise Mari.

Time Out Andrzej Lukowski
'It's not a horrible evening'

Maddie Costa States of Deliquescence 
'I left The Architects with nausea in my throat, a rock in my stomach and my brain in a fever of horror'

Jake Orr A Younger Theatre  
'Disappointing in execution. The same was true of Shunt’s last show, Money.' 

Stuart Pringle Exeunt  
'It’s this fierce political indignation that sets the collective apart from many of its cousins in the upper echelons of UK theatrical experimentation.. The architects is an inspiring success'

Beccy Smith Total Theatre  
'a breathtaking aerial turn I‘ve never seen done elsewhere'

Time Out Andrzej Lukowski
'a bit of pedestrian rope work from a pair of acrobats.'

Daisy Bowie Sell The Telegraph  
'It is a brilliantly constructed labyrinth. It’s a completely disconcerting and disorientating experience, and when you eventually reach your destination there’s a distinct sense of relief.'

Fourth and Main Kate Kelsall
'a lacklustre plywood maze is more frustrating than bewildering'

Miriam Gillinson Sketches On Theatre
'It's a superbly disorientating opening, which makes you seriously question your senses and your sanity.
It's a bit like being chucked down Alice's rabbit hole, whilst coming down from an almighty trip.'

Patrick Brennan Whats On Stage
'The audience is initially left to wander through a plywood maze, a frugal labyrinth offering a few glimpses at closed circuit television and booming sound effects. So far, so underwhelmed.' 

Charlotte Pegram The Middle Peg
'it can hardly be called experimental..'

Catherine Usher The Stage 
'..traditionalists beware - you will be wildly out of your comfort zone.'

Kate Kelsall Fourth and Main 
'..it's weird for weirdo's sake and totally pointless'

Reviews by Marc
'I had a ball. I was hooting and crying with laughter at many points throughout the show, and other times beaming in stupid joy. The humour is beautifully quirky'

Daisy Bowie-Sell The Telegraph  
'This is all mildly amusing'

The London Aisle Charlotte Skeock
'..suspense, surprise and an unsettling level of sensory involvement ..
90 minutes that could never be classed as boring.'

webcowgirl  
'But seriously: who came up with this crap? I was bored ten minutes after our “cruise” started'

Beccy Smith Total Theatre
'..brilliant comic characters'

Charlotte Pegram The Middle Peg
'The characters are shallow and trivial..'

Howard Loxton British Theatre Guide 
'..a rambling lecture about architectural ethics'

Diana Damian Exeunt
'..a brilliant speech about the power of architecture'

from the comfort of your seat
'The design was lacking, they had a massive space and only used half of it'

The London Aisle Charlotte Skeock
'The cavernous performance space is a design revelation'

Gary Naylor Broadway World Reviews 
'..the spectacle is occasionally extraordinary - the spaces have to be seen to be believed '

Jake Orr A Younger Theatre
'…dull and repetitive, we as the audience feel underused.'

Liloïe Cazorla The Upcoming 
'the actors take pleasure in surprising the audience, walking among the audience, making everyone feel part of the story, each member of the audience becomes an actor of the play, of the sequence of events.'

Lyn Gardner The Guardian
'The show never feels fully realised, and we feel underused'

Catherine Love Lovetheatre
'Meatier than it appears at first glance, there’s plenty to dissect in The Architects: Not for the first time, a ship comes to represent a nation, and our role within that sinking nation is all too clear. Seen as part of this rigidly structured and depressingly resonant power dynamic, the imposed powerlessness of spectators is integral to the theatrical metaphor.
We are consenting adults, we have chosen to be here and it is our choice to get meekly tugged along by this spiralling disaster. And not just to passively endure it, but to actively enjoy the hilarity of the destruction that steadily engulfs us.

from the comfort of your seat
'The immersion was as far as I could tell, four actors telling us that we were on a boat… We were then shown four naked people drinking, then asked to leave.'

Matt Trueman Financial Times
..'the three-piece house band brings a party atmosphere that makes this a corking night out.'

The London Aisle Charlotte Skeock
..'why the live band ?'

Negar Yaafi
'There is a full male nudity.'

Howard Loxton British Theatre Guide 
'…..a distantly observed episode which featured what looked like a large, naked man

Lyn Gardner The Guardian
..'the company still hold everything inside their heads, and have been unable to translate the jostling intellectual ideas into a satisfying physical and theatrical experience.'

Matt Trueman Financial Times
'a state of the nation play…'.

David Anderson Plays To See 
" It's true that the piece achieves its success largely by means of the unexpected.. But to say that they have constructed a labyrinthine complex doesn't spoil things, and is by the bye necessary to illuminating something of how they create a space in which the roles of performer and spectator become interpenetrative and confused....Invigorating, Inviting us to think again about space and our relation to it, we are left perturbed that our chaotic universe might resemble the unsettling order of Borges's Library of Babel, 'whose exact centre is any one of its hexagons and whose circumference is inaccessible'.

Charlotte Pegram The Middle Peg Review
..' the drama that takes place within this space is so poorly thought out and in moments, quite frankly, tawdry. The idea behind the performance, I think, is to place the audience in the realm of the mythical, and to give them a sense of a life pre-determined by the irrational wrath of the gods. Beyond that I can’t see any purpose to this production: the whole thing screams out form over substance. When you leave a theatre with the phrase “pure twaddle” on your lips then you know that, whatever the production value of this show, the theatrical value is zero.

Beccy Smith Total Theatre
' It’s the architecture of this myth that really takes this production to another level: the shared references it supports allow us to appreciate with much greater clarity the company’s craft in translating an ancient myth into a piece of work packed with questions of resonance – about hedonism, about society and about art. 

Fiona Mountford The Evening Standard
..'something is going on. Quite what that something is I — and, I suspect, most other audience members — couldn’t begin to tell you. What I do know is that it has something to do with the legend of the Minotaur and something to do with architecture. Beyond this, it’s really anyone’s guess.

Diana Damian Exeunt
'a dense, and often satirical existential portrait. I’d say that its use of mythology is what makes the production so solid, so full of muscle. It digs you in, and you have to dig your way out: the satisfaction isn’t immediate and this makes for a show full of interesting echoes. It incorporates an impressive set of discourses within its fragmented structure. The Architects is steeped in politics though this is never made explicit; it’s all the more powerful as a complex allegory'

Isabel Formica Jakob 160g magazine
'I was rather astonished by people complaining about the show’s “lack of narrative.”  In fact, it is a plurality of narratives that characterizes this marvellous play – for lack of a better word, for it is certainly much more than a play…it is the show itself that is built on a labyrinthine structure: It is the spectator who has to choose a thread, a way of navigating through the performance: perhaps a straightforward path, perhaps a convoluted one'

Stewart Pringle Exeunt
'..a thrillingly meaty proposition that demands imagination and deserves commitment. It’s thought-provoking, intelligent and has a fiery rage in its belly.

partially obscured view
'This is theatre specially designed for people who want to tell their friends they liked it, to appear clever'

Kate Kelsall Fourth and Main 
..'for twenty quid i wanted to actually get involved with shark gutting, jousting and dolphin ejaculation experiences reportedly happening on the other decks'

Sally Barnden One Stop Arts
'The Architects is a left-field appropriation of the minotaur myth, and it retains its own loopy coherence The setting is spectacular and disorienting, and the play is often funny, sometimes thrilling and overall, intriguing. A thoroughly unusual experience, and one which even unconvinced audience members will remember for a very long time.

from the comfort of your seats  
'I am still unsure as to what happened.
I came away angry and disappointed that Shunt seem to have let themselves and the name down…'

Lyn Gardner The Guardian
..'it doesn't just feel as if it is the gods who are laughing at us, but the company, too'


Original conception and development: Shunt collective

Cast (and co-devisers): Nigel Barrett | Gemma Brockis | Callum P Crouch | Hannah Ringham | Helledd Watkins | Matthew Seadon Young | Dave Vigay | Pablo Meneu | Anna Perez de Manuel
Show direction: David Rosenberg & Louise Mari & Gemma Brockis
Visual design: Lizzie Clachan
Sound design and composition: Ben and Max Ringham | Andrew Rutland
Lighting design: Mischa Twitchin and Stephen Royle
Aerial choreography: Layla Rosa
Video design and photography: Susanne Dietz
Promoted in association with the National Theatre


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