Handle With Care

Presented as part of the Lowry’s Week 53 Festival, Handle With Care by Dante or Die is ‘a site-specific journey of one woman and her stuff through a lifetime in self-storage performed at Ready Steady Store in Worsley’.  Performed over two floors, ten storage units of all sizes, and along the corridors, this performance looks at what is important to us, what forms our memories, and what we end up throwing away.

We follow Zoe through the different stages of her adult life, from 1988 as her brother leaves to travel overseas, through her first relationships, and finally to family.  We see what happens to her and we see those possessions that may or may not contain future memories.  We watch as she moves on and keeps certain items that she values; we see how others view the same items.  Memories are very specific to the individual experiences, and the times of our lives when we experience them.  In the end, what do we keep, and why?  And how do others perceive our most important possessions?

Practically, it’s pretty impressive.  A lot of the action takes place in confined spaces and the actors work well within the given confines; there’s only just room to perform at times.  The attention to detail in the storage units is impressive; the contents accurately reflect the dialogue, and there are interesting items to find.  This gives the whole thing an intimate, connected feel.  For me, immersive theatre lives or dies in the transitions between performance spaces and this generally works smoothly; most transitions follow the actors, some have specific things to read or see.  But there is an element of being pushed along, which momentarily takes you out of the created world.

Overall this is an innovative show that perfectly matches the environment; there is no better place to reflect on what we do with possessions that contain memories than in the places we leave them.  This is a performance that stays in your head for a long time after you leave.  A poignant, moving performance that encourages you to reflect on your own experiences.

Theatre lover, amateur director, occasional actor, writer.

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