All That Glitters review (4.5 stars)

Imagine a world where people said what they really thought. You know, were really honest about their intentions, motivations and prejudices. Imagine a world where people give away Human Rights in a gameshow arena and try to save lives via an LED counter. Imagine four people in extremely revealing gold jumpsuits and you have All That Glitters. This is a remarkable new piece by independent theatre company The Last Great Hunt, featuring and devised by the uber-talented Chris Issacs, Adrianne Daff, Jeffrey Jay Fowler and Arielle Gray.

At the beginning, it appears that this is going to be quite absurdist and a little pretentious – each character enters in single file cradling and soothing imaginary babies. The audience is hushed. Cue Taylor Swift’s hot new classic Bad Blood booming from the speakers and a hilariously choreographed dance. The audience settles as it becomes apparent that this will be funny and self-aware, not a bunch of precocious rubbish. The ‘Hunters’ launch into a game show style introduction where they give away a full set of Human Rights. Well, it turns out we all have them, actually.

It’s a fantastic premise; an exploration of asylum seeker’s stories, ideas and attitudes towards them, and how the arts have tried and sometimes failed to make a difference. The four Hunters split off into two couples in a parody of awkward and banal dinner parties, chatting about everything from the big game to making crumble in a bread maker. It’s sharp, witty and clever dialogue perfectly timed and acted by the ensemble. It’s at the end of the conversation, however, that the real story comes out. Irene has purchased an art piece by a child from a war torn country. The others are uncomfortable being confronted by the piece and are subsequently accused of being racist.
As hilarious as the tone and delivery is, the accusation cuts straight to the bone. There is a brilliant analogy regarding not helping ‘brown people’ because they knocked on the resident’s back door and not the front. A great commentary on burying one’s head in the pop music of Taylor Swift – but in the end the audience is asked: can you really just ‘shake it off?’

All That Glitters is a witty, intelligent and extremely funny play that tackles the hard issues head on, in gold jumpsuits.

All That Glitters played at The Blue Room Theatre from the 11th – 29th August 2015.