Experimental theatre with hilarious results! Yee Heng Yeh’s All The World’s a Stage and Other Stories is a brilliant play that blurs the boundaries, to say the least, whilst transporting you into everyday worlds that make you reflect on whether we are all just players on a stage.

The play is made up of short scenes, with the first four of portraying everyday situations, and the last scene one life at its most extreme, with a very deep conversation between a dictator and his political prisoner.

”The start of the play, that doesn’t seem like your average start, sets the tone of eccentricity that underlines the play in the most intriguing way’’

The play starts in one of the most ambiguous ways possible, with what seems to be 4 minutes and 33 seconds of silence. It then becomes obvious that an actor playing an audience member becomes enraged at the thought that a whole play may just be 4 minutes of silence, this perhaps reflecting a lot of our own thoughts on the extremes of experimental theatre. The start of the play, that doesn’t seem like your average start sets the tone of eccentricity that underlines the play in the most intriguing way.

The next scene is one perhaps all too familiar to us: auditions on the Voice of Britain’s Idol got X-Factor (obviously does not ring a bell). The two contestants who appear, both hilariously awful at stand up and singing, are beyond hilarious in their awful auditions.

These auditions lead to a massive in fight between the two judges (as we later find out ‘Simon’ has gone, not sure which Simon they are talking about) erupting to end the scene. This scene, which we have all seen a few hundred times on TV is brilliantly parodied by the cast, who are amazing at making the audience bellow out in laughter.

The story that follows next is the briefest one. It follows on from the previous scene in such an effortless way. In this scene we meet “Dr. Leech” (we later find out he is not a real doctor). This scene sees the doctor meeting Mr. Jones and conducting a not-so-orthodox appointment (well he is not a real doctor) that pokes fun at today’s self-diagnosis culture, with Web MD and NHS Direct  mentioned.

”The scenes reflective themes act perfectly to prepare the audience for the deeper meaning of the last scene’’

The next story is set in the classroom, in a scene containing a teacher (who is almost too accurate of a lot of our own teachers), a man who runs psychometric tests and the machine he uses to do these tests: ‘Psych-O’. The machine comes to life and discusses, in a very robotic and scary way, how everyone is given a worth in life.

This scene goes deeper into the audience’s thinking about whether we do have worth or not. The scenes’ reflective themes act perfectly to prepare the audience for the deeper meaning of the last scene.

The final scene of the play was its most powerful. The two actors, Sam Morris and Ronan Lee, were excellent in their roles as a political prisoner and dictator. The scene addresses the title and famous line, ‘All the World’s a Stage’, in thinking of what is true and what is not true in our world and questions of the ‘creator’.  This scene is intense but laced with pure comedy, and even a break in character, that keeps the audience reflecting further and further.

”A brilliant first production for Yee Heng Yeh of a play as a strong delve into our everyday lives as a way of making us question our own existence’’

A brilliant first production for Yee Heng Yeh, of a play the strongly delves into our everyday lives, as a way of making us question our own existence in a way that almost does not feel like we are. The play was perhaps too fast paced but brilliant nonetheless!

8/10 – Excellent, highly enjoyable

Michelle Williams

Image courtesy of the Nottingham New Theatre

‘All The World’s a Stage and Other Stories’ is running at the Nottingham New Theatre until Tuesday the 29th of November. For more information and where to find tickets see here

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