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Monty Leigh

Review: World Without Us

World Without Us Belgian theatre company Ontroered Goed present this monologue, World Without Us - a rumination on what would happen to Earth if humanity suddenly disappeared from existence. The methodical pace of the show forces the audience to use their imagination while Valentijn Dhaenens leads us through a step-by-step guide to the end of human kind.

The show is essentially a long monologue performed by Valentijn Dhaenens who has a quiet but powerful presence in the space, slowly relishing in each word as we hang on them. He is talking about the space we are in, the theatre, and what would happen if we just all vanished, all of humanity. What follows is his guesses (it wasn’t really clarified whether any of this was scientifically viable) of what would happen next. Firstly - phone alarms would go unanswered in bags, rats would feed on our theatre snacks, aeroplanes would travel alone for a while before falling into the sea.

Lord Rees, a world-renowned scientist, claimed in 2010 than human’s minds were not able to fathom the idea of the end of the world or how expansive the universe is. As Dhaenens’s narrative went further, I found myself finding it very difficult to keep up with the pictures in my mind. For example, the roof of the theatre collapsing after thousands of years, and around it being pure forest with deers and bears. This is where long moments of darkness and blackouts became very useful, it was refreshing that a piece of theatre asked you to do a lot of the work yourself, rather than spoon feeding us with images.

Perhaps though, it would help for the audience to know whether this information is accurate; I would have found that extremely exciting. Not knowing this made it difficult for the listener to strike a balance between feeling like they were in a lecture or a piece of theatre.

Overall, this nihilistic show touched upon some very interesting points; Why do we try and leave a legacy when one day this entire world will be gone? Why are we unable to see our own insignificance? Are we scared? What really makes us human?

This show is perfect for the philosopher within you, but be prepared to need a strong drink after, as it defintely holds a mirror up to mankind and death; which is jarring to say the least.