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As an avid gamer myself, I’ve always got my eyes peeled for videogame-based theatre. Drifting Towers offered this and the promise of a heartfelt narrative at its core, which for me, sealed the deal.
Before Tobi (Annabel Bolton) leaves for university, she and Sam (Bilal Hasna) decide to finish ‘Drifting Towers’, a videogame they’ve been playing for months. Jumping in-between Sam’s living-room and the kooky gamescape, the two start to scrutinise their friendship and the decisions they’ve made on their futures.
The premise is smart, and the cast has a good acting range to pull off the switching scenes. Hasna and Bolton have great chemistry, and it’s a joy to watch the two engage in a tennis game of clever comebacks and probing questions, creating two very realistic characters. The ensemble successfully multi-role a variety of zany game characters.
I seriously enjoyed the videogame elements. I found myself guffawing at the janky “NPCs” and frustrations of tedious minigames and objectives. The cast as a whole had a very well-structured choreography to work with, and the 8-bit music helps the rhythm of these movements.
However, there were a couple of slip-ups along the way. While corpsing can add to the performance and is by no means planned, not getting back on track quickly and break the dramatic illusion just as fast. The ingenuity of clip-on controllers and velcro button prompts were used well but finding another way to secure them safely would help the production’s flow, especially during some choreographed parts. Some extra rehearsal time to polish out the rough corners would do wonders.
While not perfect, Drifting Towers has its heart in the right place. It is a pixelated look at a friendship in peril, which the plot cleverly tests, developing into bittersweet satisfaction. For gaming fanatics and comedy enthusiasts, this is the production for you.