Review: Open Theatre’s The Farce Dimension

What would you do if you discovered there was a gorilla on the loose in your wardrobe, which also happened to be a portal into a multiverse consisting only of farces? Call animal protection services, and shortly after, a psychiatrist? Probably. Or, instead, you could delve into a world of chaos and madness as you hop from farce to farce in search of any real meaning behind it all. The Farce Dimension offers you just this deal, and in the process, delivers a sharp and witty piece of escapism that anyone would find refreshing as we push through the final months of lockdown.

Coming in three weekly parts with five farcical episodes, The Farce Dimension is an anthology radio show of sorts, all culminating in a final part that brings the wild events of each together. Overarching plot here, however, is ultimately unimportant, something writer-director Luke Haywood is aware of in his creative execution, opting for character dynamics and quick-witted dialogue instead. Indeed, it is these crazy characters – ranging from disguised gangster nuns to a French Guy Fawkes – and their respective voice actors, who are at the heart of The Farce Dimension. Tasked with playing four or five characters each, the cast of five showcase a broad range of accents and styles, which all work brilliantly in radio form. The multi-role aspect works greatly to the show’s advantage, as the frantic nature of each scene is made all the more hilarious as you try to guess who’s playing who. Some of the accents may be a little questionable and over-the-top, but this is all in the good nature of the tone.

Being an entirely aural experience, the importance of great editing and sound design is obviously imperative, and Ben Nuttall’s technical skills deliver. The immersive sound effects and catchy interlude tunes make you feel as though you’re really transporting from one crazy location to the next, an aspect that may not have been as easily achieved on the stage. The fun voice effects only enhance the performances of the cast and once again add to the immersion.

Overall, The Farce Dimension seeks to entertain above all and does so with great success. It is clear that so much heart and passion went into this project from everyone involved, with the payoff being plenty of laughs and surprises. Open Theatre has proved this year that student theatre can adapt to any challenge if enough hard work and creativity is invested, and I hope that they continue in part with the online format in future.