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Review: Nomnomnom at KXT PopUpstairs

By Rosie Niven

I’ll admit, I love a great bit of immersive theatre. So when I received an email the other day from Nomnomnom about my upcoming job trial (which also serves as ticket confirmation), I was incredibly excited. Immersive theatre that begins at the checkout is something I’ve never experienced.

The minute you step into the Kings Cross Hotel, this experience continues. You’re welcomed keenly by Trevor, who informs you that for today’s job trial to become a ‘food delivery officer’, you’ll have to deliver three meals to customers across the city. Armed with a branded visor and name badge, our group hits the streets of Kings Cross to make sure every customer gets their food on time. The thing that Trevor keeps ingraining in us during the induction, is that what separates Nomnomnom from other brands is that they go above and beyond for their customers. Nothing can quite prepare you for how far beyond you’ll actually have to go.

The biggest risk in a work that requires the audience to move throughout the city streets is that there must be an absolute trust in the performer. In this regard, Director Roshelle Fong has made the perfect decision. Daniel Last’s enthusiastic and remarkably committed performance as our prospective boss Trevor was a shining force throughout the whole performance. It is clear that Last has put incredible thought and effort into nailing the character and backstory to the point where curveballs from the audience are handled with inspiring energy and twisted into off-the-cuff punchlines. Though some of the ad libs missed the mark, that was more to do with the audience member’s intent to take the spotlight than Last’s skills as a comedian. Then again, that is the inherent risk with interactive theatre. These sharp moments are some of the most enjoyable parts of the performance, and Trevor’s charismatic energy encourages us to talk to strangers, go inside random buildings and go through people’s belongings - without this charming personality the audience would have stood outside in the street, refusing to participate.

Nomnomnom has an important message for its audience. One that reinforces the importance of being receptive to those in need of support and help, especially when it comes out of the blue. However the quick shift in tone did startle and seem messy. Although we only have 55 minutes for so much to unfold, the plot would have benefitted from a third customer interaction in the middle of the journey so that the emotional arc up to some rather traumatic content felt smoother rather than aggressively jarring.

Theatre that relies on the responses of the audience is always going to be incredibly difficult, and with a group as difficult as the one I was with that made jokes during serious moments and wouldn’t let actors get their lines out, I commend every performer involved for their professionalism and ability to keep this story moving. Although some parts of the story line are a little rocky, if you’re looking for theatre that is completely outside of the box (or you just want to run around the streets of Kings Cross and enter strangers’ houses for the sake of theatre), Nomnomnom is an all-round enjoyable experience that will have you both laughing and crying. Just be prepared to do some pretty strange things for the sake of customer service.

Photo Credit: Rosie Niven

All opinions and thoughts expressed within reviews on Theatre Travels are those of the writer and not of the company at large.


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