Live another life with Best Before

Von Fiona Mountford

02.07.2010 / Evening Standard

There’s a first time for everything, even the chance to go to the theatre and spend the next two hours jabbing furiously at one’s own personal video game controller linked to a giant screen.

This quirky Canadian-German co-production from Rimini Protokoll is a gem from the LIFT Festival, currently popping up in venues all over London.

After some preamble from the onstage performers, we’re off on a whistle-stop journey from the cradle to the grave in “Bestland”, a place fashioned anew each performance by the audience’s button-pressing. Via individual onscreen avatars, which start as blobs and gain distinctiveness, we vote on a series of issues. Apart from a habit of getting boxed into corners, Dusty, my avatar, seemed a community-minded sort of girl.

These multi-player video game frolics lead, as they must to justify their place here, to serious reflection. As we pelt through this hyper-accelerated life, we’re forced to consider whether our choices are consistent. In case we’re unsure, the game occasionally provides chilling lists of all the decisions we’ve ever made.

Bestland is a surveillance society to rival the heftiest Big Brother states; it’s great for a while but I wouldn’t want to move there.


Best Before