ContemporaryDramaNorth East & YorkshirePhysical TheatreReview

Breaking Tradition: Quest – Kala Sangam, Bradford

Artistic Director: Damien Barber

Script Writer: Stacey Sampson

Lighting & Projection Designer: Will Monks

Set & Costume Designer: Sarah Mills

Reviewer: Rich Jevons

When you talk about fusion in the theatrical world, you tend to think of perhaps combining jazz and hip-hop, or folk and theatre. But for Breaking Tradition’s Quest, there is a whole potpourri of mixing and matching going on that defies definition. This is a format that will surprise, and impress, even the most seasoned of theatregoers: martial arts, sword dancing, live music, Border Morris, locking and popping, staff fighting, clog dance, video game and amazing projections. 

The narrative is suitably simple for its target audience of 7-12 year-olds: Gem and Kai go missing on the night they are meant to move house. This is symbolised by a simple set of a bed and cardboard boxes, but then both characters take on virtual reality glasses which take them into a computer game world.

The screens at the back of the stage give them options of which characters to adopt, and we are taken through a fantastic journey which sees them on the quest for the title. They have to fight off a plethora of adversaries and this allows the aforementioned genres to come to life.

The soundtrack has a folkish feel familiar to fans of Demon Barbers but also echoes the kind of soundscape you hear in the gaming world. The dance and physical theatre is truly outstanding and the scenes gel together seamlessly. Some of the costumes are seriously scary but nothing that the younger members of the audience can’t handle.

Quest is a radically eclectic show that sustains fast action with great choreography as well as being totally immersive. At the end of the show, the musicians come out from behind the screen and the cast are lined up to take a bow. At the performance of this review, there was a Q&A which revealed some of the workings behind the scenes and allowed the audience to present their views on what was a totally fabulous evening’s entertainment for both young and old.

Touring nationwide | Image: Contributed

Review Overview

The Reviews Hub Score

Immersive & eclectic

The Reviews Hub - Yorkshire & North East

The Yorkshire & North East team is under the editorship of Mark Clegg. 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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