After receiving an award nomination at VAULT Festival early this year, Far Out by L Squared Theatre was back on stage at Omnibus Theatre for a 2-day only show. Far is a futuristic comedy about three explorers put together by a random algorithm searching for a new home for humankind.
The climate crisis and issues with capitalism are told light-heartedly through comedy, making the show entertaining. While I enjoyed watching this show because of this comedy element, the themes felt a little underdeveloped, at times focusing too much on the sci-fi side, then the important topics. While there is nothing wrong with some entertaining sci-fi, having based itself around the climate issue, I would have liked them to develop it more. Additionally, queerness being at the forefront of the play description, I also expected that to be one of the main themes, however, other than learning the characters are queer and frequently hearing how one character misses their girlfriend, it is not a key element. Although, of course, we are hoping the year 2150 is free of homophobia, the fact that it is one of the first things we learn about this play raised expectations. I like the fact that is just regular information about the characters more fitting to a future vision but then the description would need some alterations.
The use of algorithms and the lack of familiarity between the three characters is clever as it has a commentary on current social media algorithms and the developing technology of AI. Although the only common ground these three have is their queerness, they manage to form a heart-warming relationship. Their differences in thought about the new planet they find are also effective in showing the human dilemma about the possibility of a new planet. It introduces an amazing discussion topic of whether humans deserve a new planet or not. Are there certain people who deserve it more than others? Who would make that decision?
I was particularly a fan of the set design, lighting, visuals and sound. The screen used makes you feel like you are in a video game which adds an entertaining new dimension to the play. The different coloured lights are both used for engagement and create a more dynamic and active stage. The voice of authorities being a male voice and sounding overpowering fits the tone of the play. It is just being a sound and not a visible character also gives a ‘Big Brother’ like feeling creating a sense of oppression. The technical elements of the play are well-thought and well-implemented.
My favourite part about this play is how the actors Bertie Taylor-Smith, Atlanta Hayward and Bobby Wilkinson seem to enjoy themselves being part of this play. They are having a good time while showing great performance. I would love them to be able to keep doing what they are doing and see what more L Squared Theatre has to offer.