I entered Live Theatre, collected my tickets, received a pen and an answer sheet, and went to sit at the front of the cabaret. I was too embarrassed to ask anyone what exactly Mixtape was. So as the lights dimmed I had no idea what I had let myself in for. The action started straight away in to a dance to Michael Jackson’s thriller and an explanation of the rules followed. I think the easiest way to show how the Mixtape: Halloween sketches worked would be to explain the rules, which are as follows:
- The sketches are inspired by Halloween tracks.
- Only lyrics from the song, the sketch is inspired by, can be used to form its script. The lyrics can be reordered and repeated in any way that the Mixtape writers choose.
- The sketch mustn’t be longer than the running time of the track that inspired it. It can be shorter but it must not be longer.
Points were allocated at two per sketch, one for guessing the song name and the other for guessing the artist or band’s name. However even with limited music knowledge I was able to enjoy the sketches for their own merits: it was amazing to see what the Mixtapers achieved within such strict guidelines. From monologues, to arguments, to a collection of talking alien heads (made of plastic bowls), the twenty-three sketches ranged from funny to disturbing to plain odd. My personal favourite had to be Post Mortem which involved the recipient of the best costume prize acting as a dead body on the stage; I have never seen a dead body laugh so much.
Mixtape is a unique style of interactive theatre, the closest thing to it is a pub quiz crossed with a pantomime. It feeds off the audience as much as the audience feeds off it, and sitting at the front of the theatre meant that I had to be prepared for embarrassment as the actors often decided to pick on random audience members, namely on at the front. The atmosphere was friendly and there was almost always a buzz of chatter as people discussed their answers within their teams. Surprisingly this was never annoying as the competitive nature of the night meant that the noise couldn’t get too loud as it was important to watch and listen carefully, to ensure that any crucial giveaways weren’t missed.
The evening ended with me scoring of an abysmal 9/46 points, and so I had to keep quiet and hang my head in shame as the winners (who scored 31/46) collected their Golden Mixtape. The next Mixtape is in March and is on alternative music, so I have pledged to educate myself and listen to some alternative tracks before then, in the hope that I may too have my own Golden Mixtape.
Mixtape are back at Live Theatre next year with two new shows in Live Theatre’s main theatre. First up, on Friday 4 March it’s Mixtape: Alternative featuring your favourite indie tunes, rock tracks and classic Britpop anthems. Then on Friday 13 May it’s Mixtape: The 80s. Don your leg warmers and get foolose and fancy free with the Mixtape and some 80s classics. Find out more
Review by Oisin Power