top of page

Freak Out! | Camden People's Theatre

Freak Out! Is written, devised and co-directed by members of Coin Toss Collective and dives into the severity of climate change with the rapidly increasing rates of erosion into the imaginary British seaside town of Portsford. Freak Out!'s biggest strength is their approach to ensuring that the show remains unforgettable by its use of absurd juxtaposing, and the true story upon which it is based - a fundraiser and movement to save their town, originated at a birthday party, becomes a peculiar but utterly engaging premise that leads into some moments of striking chaos. 

The show resembles a mad genius with its smaller moments - two characters have a serious discussion about rising water levels whilst plummeting their faces under water when the other person speaks and distributing slices of cake to the audience whilst discussing the land slowly being stripped away are just two of my favourite examples. 

The set design (Claudia Kurucz) is an impressive recreation of Portsford using a cardboard model, which the cast frequently interact with. The show utilises lighting (Robb Gasset, Weronika Dwornik and Andy Simpson) and sound well (Ben Notice and Sophia Oriogun-Williams). The consistent sound of wind and water serves as a painful reminder and backdrop to the seriousness of the issues, amongst the silliness of the show. The lighting changes between dramatic and bright lights for conversations, and a multitude of colours for the more light hearted moments, yet it's the flickering lights in the model Portsford houses that impacts the most. Video projections (Weronika Dwornik) are used to share facts about climate change through archival and news footage, and interviews with seaside town residents. These moments are often accompanied by silent moments of ensemble movement, juxtaposing the show further.

Claudia Kurucz shines in her initially gentle, but increasingly manic attempts to find peace in a frantic bid to help resolve issues. Sophia Oriogun-Williams, Rosie Mullaney, Weronika Dwornik and Claudia Kurucz have rather powerful moments of spoken word that are scattered throughout the piece, that call out ignorance and demand change. However it is Sol Woodroffe, who plays PHD student Eli and Sandy, who is not only the show's stand out performer, stealing every scene that he is in, but ultimately becomes the heart of the show. As Eli, his bright ideas and knowledge propel the need for action, but it's his brilliant performance as Sandy that leaves the audience trapped between amusement, guilt and a burning desire to make change. Woodroffe as Sandy, takes on an almost jester like character, bringing members of the audience on stage to engage in fun sand castle competitions, storytelling, moments of improvisation and singing. Becoming a metaphor for one's childhood and the beach, it's a truly moving moment to watch his literal downfall, in a breathtaking moment. 

The cast work well together, with each member being given an individual motive and story, beyond the overarching narrative of being relocated from their beloved home town. However, a few of these individual storylines aren't fully developed and have pointed dialogue, resulting in caricatures of fascinatingly varied characters. The synchronicity in the cast, particularly in energetically choreographed moments of movement, feels special as the community becomes one (choreographed by Lydia Lakin, Anthony Matsena and Deepraj Singh).

Freak Out! is a marvellous reminder of how vivid and physical theatre can be, even when addressing important issues that will remain with the audience for a long time. Freak Out! is currently on tour, and will be at the Edinburgh Fringe for the entirety of August - for more information and tickets, you can follow the link here.


AD | gifted tickets in return for an honest review | photography by Chelsey Cliff


bottom of page