Review: Trust, Gate

Jude Christian offers up something excitingly experimental with the German play Trust at the Gate Theatre in West London

“I have to keep being original here and that’s really hard work
I CAN’T BE FUNNY AND ORIGINAL ALL THE TIME”

Between the Mandarin lessons and the sleep masks, the tequila shots and extended yoga, there’s an awful lot going on in Trust. A hell of a lot. But given that the last time Jude Christian directed a show here at the Gate she put two actual piglets onstage, it should come as little surprise that she’s challenging us once again. Plus the play’s German, so of course it’s batshit.

From the minute you walk into the Gate, having been handed your guide to the art installation and gingerly stepping over the Roomba that’s beavering away, we know we’re not in Kansas any more. Or Notting Hill. Or anywhere the likes of Billers or DomCav will consider safe. And over the next 100 minutes, Christian experiments with this theatrical space in breathtaking ways, performing in the play as well as a kind of guide on its bewildering path.

Written by Falk Richter (“one of the most important German playwrights on his generation” doncha know) and translated by Maja Zade, Trust seeks to explode the myth of modern capitalism through the lens of a collapsing relationship (Pia Laborde Noguez’s Lea and Zephryn Taitte’s Stefan). It might have been 14 years, it might have been 3 weeks, the work of Japanese-Icelandic social systems analyst Atsushi Lyngursvötsson might be more significant than anyone realised, you might never even know.

Structurally playful (the way captions are introduced for each chapter is ingenious) but thematically consistent (the world is going to shit, no really THE WORLD IS GOING TO SHIT), there’s no doubting that Trust is formally exacting. But I found it exhilarating too – loosened from the strictures of the conventional, shot through with the Pet Shop Boys and seasoned with the conviction that had Jude Christian been on hand to explain things, I might not have failed my Economics A-Level,  it’s a blisteringly different night at theatre. (And should you worry it’s all getting too much, there’s even an inbuilt chill-zone to the play.)

Running time: 100 minutes (without interval)
Trust is booking at the Gate Theatre, London until 17th March

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