All in Good Time – VAULT Festival, London

Reviewer: Oliver Pattrick

Devisor: The Not-God Complex

All in Good Time sounds great on paper: a play concerned with representing neurodivergent experiences of time with particular reference to ADHD. As theatre increasingly embraces issues concerning diversity, one cannot help but think that neurodivergence has remained the poor relation – we desperately need to move on from The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.

Equally promising, the young company behind this devised piece defines itself in excitingly provocative, if slightly cryptic, terms as ‘named in rejection of the god-complex methodologies found within theatre’ to produce ‘multidisciplinary’ work that has ‘a focus on subverting and queering traditional theatre terms’. Financial support from the Arts Council England and the National Lottery gives an encouraging stamp of approval.

Anyone who has worked with ADHD will have enjoyed the wild creativity it can generate, the rush of exciting ideas, the sudden shifts in focus, the refreshing jumps between what is commonly perceived as important or trivial. A speech towards the end of the play lightly touches on these issues, but as a representation of these qualities on-stage, the play is a crushing disappointment and – sadly there is no other way of putting it – is so boring that this reviewer longed to join the other members of the audience who exited before the end.

In the gaps between a rather clumsy structural device that mark a journey through various dates in human history, there are a few unexpected shifts that merit the multidisciplinary label: a faintly amusing song, some audience interaction, small rubber ducks, projection. However, the lack of originality in the presentation of any of these ideas (just how tired is shoehorning in a game-show sequence?), coupled with the lacklustre vocal delivery and weak physical skills make the piece frustrating to experience.

All the more frustrating is the lack of intellectual rigour: the most banal commonplaces about capitalism, superficial notions of linear and cyclical time, cryptic and probably meaningless statements about time and parties, much of it repeated in a deadpan style in front of a microphone.

One can only guess that the long section of inaction half-way through the production is designed to simulate the boredom that a person with ADHD might experience, but it only serves to alienate the audience, who had already suffered that experience in the 25 minute delay before the production started.

Runs until 27 January 2023

The VAULT Festival runs from 24 January to 19 March 2023

The Reviews Hub Score

A wasted opportunity

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The Reviews Hub London is under the acting editorship of Richard Maguire. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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