STAGE REVIEW: FLIM NITE Present The Matrix @ Alphabetti Theatre, Newcastle (27.04.18) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Each FLIM NITE sees a cult classic film divvied out to a bunch of performers, put under a kaleidoscopic microscope and retold. Sort of. While the parameters of this clearly leave space for daftness, this edition also found moments of calm and absolute beauty, as FLIM picked apart vinyl, sunglasses and handgun-toting romp, The Matrix.

Kicking off the night, AJ McKenna took on a narratorial role with a set which blended poetry and comedy, bringing the audience into the world of the film, delving into the script and some sections that were cut. It was clear that AJ had done her research. Picking up on specific 90s references and product placement (Nokia, Fedex and minidiscs, remember them?) was a hit, and her set established the tone and balance of the night brilliantly.

Combining live, looped music, poetry, improvised dance and a caringly explained tarot reading, Charlie Dearnley then explored the idea of losing and finding oneself. In a truly beautiful, honest and vulnerable set, he sank into the more philosophical themes in the film, delving beneath the gunfight violence and time-specific fashion to say something eternal and captivating.

After the break, the silliness ramped up. Ben Swithen’s 10-minute film Neo’s Choice in which they took on the character of ‘Neo Matrix’ was wonderfully tongue-in-cheek. The character’s tricky to describe… Have you ever seen that video from the early 00’s of David Bowie talking to Paxman about the potential of the internet? Imagine that, but done by David Brent, and you might be in the right ball park. Well worth a watch.

At the beginning of the next performance, Joe Cooper asked an audience member, very politely, “do you want to go into the Matrix?” before guiding them through an interactive console game, complete with a re-invention of classic Nokia game Snake which had everyone on the edge of their seats.

The night then finished with anarcho-electric pop double act Girl Hogg, with a set combining Kate Bush, green ribbon dancing, the audience dancing onstage and a fair amount of falling over. As a high energy end to the night, it was perfect.

With all the ramshackle pop-anarchism of Never Mind The Buzzcocks and the warmth, variety and bonhomie of a fringe arts night, FLIM NITE is going from strength to strength and is not to be missed.

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