• Amy Toledano

Coming Out Of My Cage (And I've Been Doing Just Fine) presented by Shepard Tone

What Is It? Coming Out Of My Cage (And I’ve doing just fine) is a two-man deep-dive into the cultural phenomena of a track, that hasn’t left the charts in 16 years; ‘Mr Brightside’ by the Killers. The show combines karaoke, audience interactions, on-stage explorations and personal anecdotes to explore how this song touched the world becoming the anthem for a good night out.

What Is It All About? The investigation into this track is led by Tim Chapman and Hannah Follows who have delved into the world of ‘Mr Brightside’ covers on YouTube. In their deep dive they discover an unknown woman in a mystery pub who embellished the infamous mustard waist coat and spotty tie to perform the track ‘Mr Brightside’. Multiple videos of the performance were posted onto YouTube but then... they just stopped, and Tim and Hannah want to know why. Our intrepid duo set out on their quest to discover the truth which leads them past the Northern border, to a tiny pub in the corner of Ireland, and the unearthing a series of interesting stories of diverse people who are all united by the one song.

How Did It Make Me Feel?

Our tale begins with our heroes coming out of a large cage in the middle of the stage. If this doesn’t clue you on the style of comedy that we will experience over the next hour, I don’t know what will. They tell us a little history of the track with the help of recordings from interviews with Brandon Flowers of The Killers which leads them into the tale of ‘Brampton Flowers’ and the mystery behind her YouTube disappearance.

The performance leads onto a vlog of our intrepid duos investigation to find and locate this mystery entertainer. The hilarity of the pairs efforts to try and infiltrate Brampton Litter Picking and Dating Facebook groups is brilliant and thoroughly entertaining to watch. Then projected onto the back wall of The Pit Theatre was a vlog of their adventure past the Northern border to Brampton and the mishaps which happened on that trip. The ideas thrown into this chapter were executed and landed brilliantly by themselves and really picked up the pace and energy of the show.

Splitting the chapters is a mixture of musical interludes featuring the Tim and Hannah’s impressive musical ability and the likes of a Ukulele, saxophone, clarinet, accordion and recorder rendition of ‘Mr Brightside’.

The tone of the show heavily features the idea of connectivity and power that music has to bring people together, using projected video content, recorded voice notes of people they met on their adventure and then actively encouraging us to connect as part of the show asking the audience to chat, get to know each other and answer some philosophically driven questions such as ‘Would you rather be happy or make a difference?’. Some of interactions occasionally feel awkward and a little misplaced but it is warm and hearty, and any awkwardness is lessened by the charisma and charm of the hosts.

Coming Out of My Cage (and I've Been Doing Just Fine) is an experimental breath of fresh air in theatre. It isn't a completely polished performance, but the storyline is captivating, compelling and just fun to watch. It did have a laidback essence and YouTube personality warmth to it with the enigmatic personalities of Tim and Hannah, making it a pleasurable experience to be apart of. The use of technical visuals and audio all add a little something extra to the performance, and I would happily attend a show like this again.

Anything Else? The show was created by Shepard Tone who aim to create participatory and playful shows to engage those who feel that theatre isn’t for them and offer unique experiences to those who do. Using clowning and DIY tech to explore big, complex ideas through a pop culture microscope.

Ruby x

Coming Out Of My Cage (And I've Been Doing Just Fine) is playing in the Pit, VAULT Festival, until 16th February 2020.

If you like our reviews and want to support this blog feel free to buy any of us a virtual coffee here!