The following review took place on Thursday the Fourth of February, 2016 during an audience of BABY by Doppelgangster. Co-produced by MKA | Theatre of New Writing. Presented in association with VAULT Festival.

It seems to me that the duty and desires of the audience are the greatest conflict in any spectatorial event. So it is, that we find them crammed into the front two rows at their first entry into the space, and then witness them magnanimously moving back to the third and indeed fourth rows when requested.

The ladies from Plunge Theatre certainly turn in a good observation in the second row, demonstrating a genuinely sensitive approach to their material. There is none of the clutching at pearls, meek whimpering, or stern glances and tut-tutting, that so often accompany a viewing such as this.

Nice to see Paul Beer, and his wife too. We’ve never noticed Paul in an audience before but he certainly holds his own, and has us wondering where he’s been until now. His wife is a gifted onlooker, in what is an unexpected and delightful debut. Great work, and the pair really hold things together in the final stages.

The guy in the deep red jumper reminds us of the little girl in Schindler’s List. He displays good smiling technique and appears genuinely worried when Tom begins to hug the audience. Truly at the height of his powers; a searing self-portrait from a magnificent spectator.

A couple of ladies at the back are just super, giving and giving and giving again. Like real life givers. The sort of magnetic peripheral viewing that revolves, satellite like, and then swoops down – a full moon – bathing in the illumination.

The man who gave a performer permission to sit on his lap and then expressed unique, interesting, and extreme discomfort, has trouble finding a connection with the moment, but the feeling from the cast and crew is one of sympathy rather than condemnation.

Is there a more potent symbol for the drama than the looking that takes place? It can only be said that this audience did indeed ‘look on’ for most the theatrical presentation. Breaks in their looking only served to emphasise their commitment to paying attention. I wouldn’t call them the best new audience of the year, but the devastating drama behind their work hints at hidden depths beneath the wild and rapid fire glancing.

Reviewers: Tom Payne PhD & Tobias Manderson-Galvin MWrPerf