Head down to the far end of Madeira Drive, Brighton, before the end of September and you’ll find a small slice of time travel in the form of new, immersive theatre experience Once Upon a Time on Something Street.
When you first arrive at the site, you’re greeted by an artificial grass garden and a glorious sea-view. It’s packed with picnic chairs, tables and umbrellas, along with two bars and several food vendors housed in a variety of shipping containers. This area very much feels like someone’s garden, which only adds to the feeling that we’ve entered someone else’s world. It’s a mere taste of what’s to come. The view from this garden area onto the beach is fantastic and if the weather was better it’d be a lovely place to sip a cocktail, even if you don’t attend the show or have already seen it.
A custom built street has been created in a kind of black box on the site, complete with an alleyway and a mysterious series of numbered front doors. As you enter, you immediately wonder what lies behind each one. The anticipation builds as the large audience is split into groups and assigned a timekeeper with a stopwatch, to take you on your journey and make sure you don’t lose track of time.
I don’t want to ruin any surprises for you, but I can say that what follows is a brief glimpse into the lives of one particular family throughout the decades, the Stammers family. How is everyone connected? Well that’s for you to figure out.
As well as scenes from the past and present playing out in front of your eyes, brief moments of audience interaction with these characters reveal there’s perhaps more to the stories of these people’s lives than we first imagined.
Ending with an introspective look at your own life on New Year’s Eve, the final day in everyone’s calendar. The show leaves you feeling as if you’ve just experienced something very special indeed and its message is sure to stay with you for some time afterwards.
Be sure to check out Once Upon a Time on Something Street for yourself before it disappears into the mists of time this September, and see what you discover about the characters, and perhaps even yourself.
Performances of Once Upon a Time on Something Street are Tues – Sun at 7pm, 8pm and 9pm, additional performances on Fri at 6pm, Sat and Sun at 1pm and 2pm.