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Encounter with the crocodile man

McBurney smSimon McBurney in The Encounter at the Oxford Playhouse last night: a master class is vibrant, visceral, thoughtful relevant theatre. McBurney himself was, quite literally, the encounter. And for me, one who uses a lot of technology in their work, a master class also in the soulful use of technology; never being swayed by its inherent possibilities beyond how it could be bent to his playful creative purpose, to his storytelling. There was loop pedal, some neat 3D video mapping, a seamless multilayered soundscape, microphones of various descriptions, pitch modulation and reverb, to mention just two filters, and some pretty cool stage lighting. This guy is in a class of his own. I first saw him in The Street of Crocodiles about 20 years ago; he was brilliant then and remains so. The performance last night was followed by a talk between McBurney and the scientist Marcus de Sautoy. What a disappointment; de Sautoy had the cheek to use the opportunity to publicise his new book. Boo!

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