Created 1996

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“There’s a word for people like you, and that word is audience. An audience comes to the theatre perhaps to see something that if they saw it in real life they might find it offensive. Something that if you saw it in the street, it might make you turn away. …. An audience likes to sit in the dark and to watch other people do it. Well, if you’ve paid your money — good luck to you.”

Narrated by a man with a fake dynamite bomb strapped to his chest, the piece begins with a naïve text describing just what a good piece of theatre should be. From this amateurish advice about simple scenery, good casting and dress rehearsals, Showtime soon decays into a chaos of cardboard pantomime trees, a dog that talks about suicide and a series of insistent questions asked of a dying thug as he lies bleeding outside a Wendy house.

Showtime is a comical piece in which the concerns of adult life, especially death, are played out in a visual language drawn from children’s picture books and pantomimes. Its concern is also with theatre itself — with the nature of our demands as spectators, with the construction of illusion as well as with the desire for order, sense and coherence in our lives.


Conceived and devised by the company.

Performers Robin Arthur, Richard Lowdon, Claire Marshall, Cathy Naden, Terry O’Connor
Direction Tim Etchells
Text Tim Etchells and the company
Design Richard Lowdon
Lighting Design Nigel Edwards
Soundtrack John Avery / found sources

Showtime is a Forced Entertainment production.