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Review: Vegetables by Muddled Marauders

Immersive newcomers Muddled Marauders will forever change how you look at carrots and parsnips with their surreal debut show, Vegetables.

Immersive Rumours received complimentary tickets to this show and as such, are disclosing this information before our review. The producers have had no input in the below and all thoughts are our own.


Promo image for Vegetables

Photo: Vegetables by Muddled Marauders

Clerkenwell Bio Botanics has opened the doors of its underground research centre to the public for the first time. They're hosting a product showcase of their groundbreaking biophysical work, and are looking for trialists.


That's about as much information as was public about Vegetables, the debut immersive theatrical show from Muddled Marauders, until last week when it opened. Wrapped in secrecy since it was first announced in May, the producers have been tight-lipped about exactly what to expect, and for good reason. It's a show with an absolutely absurd premise that is best enjoyed with no prior knowledge of what is to come.


Directed by Nathan Ess, the show has received backing from Arts Council England and is inspired by the likes of Julia Davis (creator and star of BBC's Nighty Night and Sky/HBO's Sally4Eva), Charlie Brooker's Black Mirror and writer/director Charlie Kaufman. While this is Muddled Marauders' first immersive theatrical show, they've been operating since 2016 in the underground rave scene and are best known for creating elaborate immersive parties in disused spaces.

Poster for Vegetables

Photo: Vegetables by Muddled Marauders


The show's story revolves around Dr. Angela Hass (Adie Mueller), a scientist whose recent breakthrough promises to 'fix you in ways you didn't know you could be fixed'. It's little surprise given the show's title, but it involves vegetables and in the best way possible, is absolutely ludicrous.


Audiences are eased into the show first with welcome drinks provided by Dr. Hass' lab assistant Veronica (Michelle Roberston) and a peek behind the plastic curtains that are scattered throughout their underground research centre. There's dozens of carrots, onions and parsnips floating in jars all over the sprawling hallways of their laboratory, and stems of broccoli hooked up to enough wires and sensors that Hass could probably trace which field they were grown in if desired.

Promo image for Vegetables

Photo: Vegetables by Muddled Marauders


Over the show's 90-minute duration, the absurdity of the story ramps up to a comical degree. A scene midway through in which all of the trialists are offered a slice of carrot to eat leads to a moment so surreal we were in danger of choking from how funny it was. Later moments touch upon more serious topics surrounding consent and sexual assault, but they're not the main focus of the show's narrative and are only alluded to briefly.


While it's light on the kind of immersive elements that some audience members might expect, there are opportunities for those willing to get involved - though it doesn't lead to much more than some brief improv between the cast and audience. Set across two main rooms, those who attend will also find themselves seated for much of the show's duration.


For a first outing into immersive theatre, Muddled Marauders have produced a show that's unique and different to everything else currently playing. They're a company to watch out for in the future and if you're willing to follow them into an undisclosed basement in Clerkenwell, it makes for a hell of a story to tell friends and colleagues about the following day.


★★★★


 

Vegetables runs until 23rd June in a secret location in Clerkenwell. To find out more and apply for tickets, visit https://www.clerkenwell-bio-botanics.co.uk



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