Sell Out

Previewed 31 May 1999, Opened 1 June 1999, Closed 4 July 1999 at the Ambassadors Theatre in London - performed late evenings

Frantic Assembly make their West End debut with Michael Wynne's Sell Out in London for a strictly limited season

Someone is in for a birthday surprise... As the candles are blown out, an argument grows from an honest word amongst friends. And it grows quickly, snowballing into an irresistible force with crushing consequences for those involved. Prepare for casualities as Frantic Assembly explore the extraordinary capacity for cruelty among those that know each other best.

The cast features Cait Davis as 'Kate', Scott Graham as 'Scot', Steven Hoggett as 'Stephen' and Anstey Thomas as 'Ansti'. Directed by the company with choreography by T C Howard, soundtrack/DJ by Andy Cleeton and lighting by Natasha Chivers.

"If I tell you that Sell Out begins and ends with the same happy-seeming birthday party, while chronicling the destruction of love and friendship in between, you may get an uneasy sense of deja vu. If I sum up the piece as another Closer, but with gymnastics substituting for some of the more feverish words, people with a resistance to performance art will feel equal foreboding. But those who saw its Flesh know that Frantic Assembly is an inventive, energetic touring troupe, well worth a slot in the metropolis. Moreover, the text comes from Michael Wynne, a dramatist with a tough yet sophisticated take on urban ennui... Not all the accompanying swirl and balletic whirl is effective, but when voyeuristic Ansti ( Anstey Thomas) squirms as her "friends" pummel her, or Stephen (Steven Hoggett) physically disintegrates along with his emotional world, you'll feel that Frantic Assembly more than justifies its reputation." The Times

"Frantic Assembly tell their stories partly in speech, partly in distinctive, gymnastic dance. These stories feature clubbing and confession, and teasingly suggest that they could be autobiographies or fictions. They provoke a singularly engaged response... At the Ambassadors Theatre, Frantic Assembly are performing Sell Out, the story of the end of a love affair, rendered briefly, vigorously, diagramatically. It has a spare script, which moves between earnest and knowing: 'I think the scabies brought us closer together.' It has a circular, sculpted plot. It has a cast of four who play together with intensity. And it has its own physical language, which runs at unpredictable angles to what is being said. Some movements simply underline speeches: when the earnest interferer of the quartet wants to give her disconsolate friend the benefit of her words of therapised wisdom, she scoops him up in her arms and cradles him as if he were a monster-sized baby. Some dance passages take the place of speech: when things are uncertain, the company move across the stage together, flicking their limbs and torsos in spasms: they look as if they are caught under strobe lighting. Nothing is stale." The Observer

Frantic Assembly Sell Out in London at the Ambassadors Theatre previewed from 31 May 1999, opened on 1 June 1999 and closed on 4 July 1999