Pleasance Theatre (venue)
22 October 2019 (released)
22 October 2019
Cults were once a threatening bogeyman of mind control and abuse, all the more terrifying for the idea that individuals would willingly renounce their individual choice to ally themselves to a group. But in these isolated times, perhaps cults are more like families – as long as you continue paying your subscription fees, of course. So Cult, from the Oneohone Theatre Company, begins with a warm welcome to its newest members. We receive a name badge and coloured wrist band to signify the organisational level we’ve achieved. We introduce ourselves to our neighbours, and discuss what’s brought us there.
Our hosts at the Rise gathering, Athena (ambitious and status-conscious) and Shayna (evangelical and accepting) made us welcome, congratulating us on our achievements so far. They listen, they care, they sympathise – gradually winning the trust of the audience. What harm could come from going along with these kind women? They teach us how to stop interactions, they show us how to honour the contributions of others. Within the first ten minutes or so, we are jostling to tell our stories. Their abrasive interactions are funny, and we watch promotional videos for the Rise movement.
The group is split into two, and we become competitive. It’s interesting to witness how easily group think takes over. When it’s challenged, the group reacts against the threat. But is the threat internal or external? As it relies on the audience to influence the direction of the evening, every performance will end differently.
Cult is thought provoking, provocative theatre which will make you think long after it is experienced.
Part of the London Horror Festival at the Pleasance Theatre, N7.