Review – Tunnel 228 (Punchdrunk)

Saturday 9 May 2009

Tunnel 228 Punchdrunk Tunnel 228 is said to have been inspired by Fritz Lang’s 1927 movie Metropolis but under the inspiration of Kevin Spacey‘s Old Vic and Punchdrunk the result owes more to Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Odditorium on Blackpool’s Golden Mile and Mouse Trap Game

It’s free and you get a very big and glossy brochure at the end of it. The railway arch location is very atmospheric.

But because it’s free, the run has already sold out. Most of the tickets will have gone to Punchdrunk fanatics which is a shame because if you’ve never seen a Punchdrunk production before this would be an amazing experience.

But if you did see Faust and/or Masque of the Red Death then you may feel that the laws of diminishing returns have set in. It’s smaller in scale, there’s more art than performance and – worst of all – there’s no bar.

As you can’t see it there’s no point telling you much about it really.


11 Responses to “Review – Tunnel 228 (Punchdrunk)”

  1. webcowgirl Says:

    Dirty rat! I want MORE detail about what I’m missing out on!

  2. Cardinal Pirelli Says:

    It’s an art installation, Punchdrunk’s work has recently tended towards the drama end but this is very much aimed at those who wander round galleries rather than those who expect a (however fragmented) narrative.

    The art is beautifully done and the whole location and atmosphere brings it out into relief.

    Very atmospheric, once I settled into the rhythm of it I approached it by letting the limited performer action lead me through the space and to the various artworks.

    Stayed about seventy minutes or so. Don’t go expecting a show, go expecting what you would from an exhibition.

  3. Karen F Says:

    Ok, the WWW are officially TTFW (too trendy for words). How the heck did you get tickets to this ye trendy feckers? You’ve had your smug moment, now SPILL!

  4. Victor E Says:

    This review is so poor of interpretation that I wouldn’t even like to address it. I have seen both previous big Punchdrunk projects and I find this one by far the more complete and far achieved. For the simple fact that the audience member can experience almost every available work, journey, story and so on, in one evening. I find this one the least fragmented of all Punchdrunk works.
    When you walk into the space you cannot make sense of what you’re seeing, how do pieces connect with each other? If you give it time you might come across a wall in a dark hall (that you will only be able to see if the door that faces it is opened by someone) and there the line ‘I can connect nothing with nothing’ is painted with graffiti, and that is the essence of the piece. One can connect nothing with nothing, but as the evening progresses and one pays attention to detail, one discovers beautiful tiny miniatures of environments (such as a gas station) hidden on the floor, these tell little stories and talk about worlds that are left to our imagination. Ever so often one hears a subtle sound of a snooker ball painted in gold going down and around a half-pipe. When one finds it and follow it around the installation one realizes that when it reaches a certain point it initiates a little automate car that goes around in a path, on water, when this gets to a certain point it initiates the falling of books in a domino effect that in its turn initiates a pendulum-crane and so on until electricity is created and several bulbs are turned on in a different room. It is all connected. On a wall one sees the image of the same man painted several times, beside each other, wearing a tie and holding a work suitcase, it is the man as a machine.
    In another room a big red button is lit by a lamp and beside it there is a paper saying PRESS. When one does so a dentist chair covered by a pink furry rug, with metal arms start to move to the sound of violin-music. For a few minutes you see such beautiful movements, almost like a contemporary dance show, in sync with the sounds. TVs surround it, they go on and off. It is the machine performing.
    Another incredible room is the one of a forest, it is filled with trees, yet the trees are made of white cardboard, on the walls there are paper butterflies, an eerie track accompanies them. The effect is so magical, real but not. There are so many other surprises in this show/performance/installation/event, but one has to look for them, to go slowly, take it all in and be open to what it proposes.
    Its huge achievement is that it makes one question what format it is: theatre, art, dance? Having made the choice to not depend on narrative and not to overwhelm us so much that one won’t have a coherent experience, they succeed greatly, more than any other of their recent projects. It’s Punchdrunk at its best and most complete. Don’t miss it for the world.

  5. Miriam Says:

    I would have loved to have seen this, but as you say, tickets went quickly. I think I saw the entrance while trying to find the Imperial War Museum today, but instead contented myself with looking at the art in the Graffiti Tunnel.

  6. DaveSplendour Says:

    @ Victor E:

    “Its huge achievement is that it makes one question what format it is: theatre, art, dance?”

    Aim for the moon and all that.

    • Victor E Says:

      Yes, do aim for the moon, as most art forms on their own are tired. That’s what we need, genres that get blurred with others. It’s the way forward. EXPERIMENT!

  7. Phaeton Says:

    I managed to get tickets for this because we wrote a story about it and I followed the link before posting it on Twitter. Sorry.

    I enjoyed it, and as with Masque of the Red Death, managed to miss about 40% of it simply by not being there at the right time. The occasional person was grabbed into a box and given a personal show – and, for once so did I, albeit not on quite the same box level.

    Standing on my own watching a dummy/corpse, (couldn’t touch it. What if it came alive?) a girl in army fatigues came up to the body and started crying over it. At least, I think she was crying, but it was so bloody dark I couldn’t tell. Loads of other people swarmed over as soon as they could see something happening, but for those few minutes, I really felt lucky. Even though not much was going on. Whatever.

    The bit that had me completely floored was Ben Tyers’ magical domino-effect installation linked in to other pieces, starting with the two men using a pulley system to walk up a graffiti painting and then set a ball in motion that had knock-on effects on the entire warehouse. That was just wonderful. So wonderful I wrote Mr Tyers an email to say so. Creepy fan mail indeed.

    Can’t wait for the next fully-formed Punchdrunk show, this just whetted my appetite for more. Bit more action next time though, there’s only so long you can stare at one wall.

    Yours sincerely, Art Philistine Phaeton

  8. By the way, it seems that you can see Tunnel 228 even if you don’t have a ticket:
    Presumably a lot of people just don’t bother turning up because they don’t put a value on tickets which are free. Easy come, easy go.

  9. world cities Says:

    I think I saw the entrance while trying to find the Imperial War Museum today, but instead contented myself with looking at the art in the Graffiti Tunnel.

  10. jottadotcom Says:

    This was such a great show. Here at jotta, we really liked ATMA’s mural and did a feature on it in our magazine.

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