You may already have noticed it is almost impossible to find out any hard facts about this show, except that tickets are like gold dust owing to its runaway success. I am afraid that this post may do little to build on what you already don’t know – the threat of the gallows on the documents I signed is just a little too real – or it was a threat along those kind of lines, at least. Like the Fight Club of the theatre world, the first rule of Bum Bum… we don’t talk about the Bum Bum.
So here’s the thing, I can’t tell you what it is, but I can tell you a bit about what it’s like.
Firstly, forget being a member of an audience, because you are an audience of 1, sole witness to actors who flip theatrical convention on its head by outnumbering you in their hundreds, and will not be watched passively, but respond with full vigor to your every action and word. Secondly, if you’ve looked for the seat number on your ticket, look away sheepishly, because there are definitely no seats. You are a passenger riding the train, but you don’t know the destination, or any of the stops, and it’s a long and very bumpy ride…
The effect of the experience is somewhere between a dream and a nightmare in which you have a say, but never full control. You can open your mouth to speak, but your words cannot command in the way you would like them to. The things that you hear and the things that you see sometimes don’t make sense, and you find yourself questioning your own objective judgment, mentally pinching yourself. It’s disorientating and disarming, but the elation and adrenaline matches this intensity in its pure, subjective, sensory rush.
Finally, I can relate that as with all exceptional theatre is only really afterwards you can look back and fully appreciate what you have experienced. At the time, in your dream world state of mine, you experience what is around you but taking it all in one go is beyond comprehension, without frying your brain. But then it dawns on you, you weren’t alone. The weird and wonderful experiences you just had were shared with nearly 400 (volunteer) strangers… and all at once you are grateful that they cannot tell a soul what they have witnessed.