Theatre Nation have done it again, creating innovative and fresh theatre via the intriguing mind of Thaddeus Phillips in the UK premiere of Zoo Motel. Mysterious, playful, ambitious and somewhat interactive, Zoo Motel is a live and intimately theatrical/cinematic play broadcast live from a village in South America; there is an emphasis on the international element of these events, having people from Norway, Serbia and the UK join this event.
By booking a ticket for Zoo Motel, guests reserve one of only 21 ‘rooms’. Then a Welcome Pack is emailed, which includes a printable room key, motel stationary, a brochure and interactive set piece. Room guests should also bring, by any means necessary, a deck of cards. However, it soon becomes questionable this extra effort and why these extra elements are really required.
This pushes Zoom beyond the conventional means and unleashes a wildly inventive exploration of live virtual theatre and the magic of cinema. Complex camera choreography combined with Zoom creates a play that has the feel of live theatre yet within the framework of a movie, and for this Zoo Motel pushes boundaries. With many magical elements to the content, there is much reason why you might want to book yourself into ZOO MOTEL.
It opened in September in the USA and has quickly become a hit in the world of online remote performance. It was a pleasure and a light-hearted charming show to come into for a Friday night. However, I did question the use of interaction, as it was only touched upon and seemed a little contrived when it felt that nothing would be lost with no interactivity whatsoever. It was interesting to see Zoom used in a more cinematic form and I would not discourage anyone from venturing into this Motel. However, as with many motels don’t expect the most superslick of operations.