Review: The Drill @ HOME, Manchester

The Drill explores the notion of preparedness in contemporary emergency situations, such as terrorism, and the anxiety that both leads to and results from that process.

Collaborative theatre-makers, Breach, perform safety drills and examine emergency response procedures using interviews on film and scenarios acted out on stage

The production, which is now showing at HOME in Manchester, features three individuals sharing their everyday anxieties – from dating apps to marriage, home ownership to motherhood, and professional fulfilment to financial stability.

In the process of performing procedures, the characters ask professionals on screen about the purpose of drills, whether they actually make us safer and what impact these rehearsals have on our off-stage lives.

What they learn is that realism is a key component of these drills and believing in them is supposedly the best way to be prepared for when emergency situations arise in real life.

SITUATIONALISM: Drill examines the notion of preparedness in emergency situations 

But it’s unclear whether this realism makes the participant of a drill feel safer or more anxious.

The characters, who vary in their levels and sources of anxiety, wrestle over how best to enact these scenarios and seem conflicted as to how seriously they should be taken.

Things get meta right from the off as the first scene featuring a vivid description of a surreal dream quickly jumps to a matter-of-fact explanation of what the production is all about.

Questioning what is scripted and whether there are breaks from character helps the audience understand the characters’ struggle to separate their preparatory rehearsals from reality.

The Drill gives no answers but poses intriguing questions allowing the audience to come to its own conclusion.

*The Drill is showing at HOME, Manchester until Saturday, June 16. You can buy tickets HERE.

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