Review: U R Here
Reviewed by Nadia Freeman
U R Here is an invitation to take things a little less seriously, to forget about the business of adulthood and be playful. Set away from the day-to-day rhythm of urban living. Barbarian Productions draws us out to Martin Luckie Park in Berhampore.
On arrival, my group is welcomed by 80’s fitness instructors who help us limber up and prepare our minds for the challenge ahead. We are then given cards that will become our passports for the rest of the performance.
What comes next is a delightful escape from convention. Our team are required to complete a series of activities while bizzaro-world teletubby-like creatures roam around sharing meaningless insight. With each activity, we gain superpowers including ‘the ability to care deeply about others’ or affirmations such as ‘Mauria te Pono’.
Once we have met the challenges, we are deemed qualified to move on to the next stage, where we meet a gatekeeper who asks for our leader. A quick conference between members of the group and I am dubbed leader by default as no one else wants the role. As ‘leader’ I have to answer a series of questions that will determine where the gatekeepers directs us.
Wandering across wide green fields we meet a team of scientists monitoring the activity of an unidentified being they call ‘it’. What is it? you may ask, well, that is for you to find out.
U R Here leaves you wondering where exactly you are. Perhaps Wellington, but perhaps somewhere else? Maybe exactly where you need to be? It feels like a nice escape from reality as you stumble across costumed musicians in the woods or a worm with answers to all things.
There is a resonating theme here about change, but not necessarily cohesion as you make your way from one area to another. I think U R Here is an exploration of a village full of various individuals and communities that do not necessarily interrelate with each other but are part of the same world nonetheless.
I recommend this as a fun day out with friends, especially the kids. Make sure to wear clothes you don’t mind getting a little messy and shoes to walk through fields. I also recommend informing people on arrival if you have mobility needs due to the fair amount of walking.