Review: Traitor, Pilot Theatre

With most productions at the very least you know where they are going to be staged. Not Pilot Theatres' Traitor, which is billed as taking place at a secret location. It's only when tickets are booked that a set of instructions are issued. They don't say much, only to meet at York High School and to wear comfortable shoes.

Pilot Theatre's new immersive show Traitor.
Pilot Theatre's new immersive show Traitor.

Still, it all adds to the sense that this is no ordinary production, but a piece of immersive theatre where the audience are as much as part of the show as the actors. It turns out we are there to help a frantic mum find her troubled daughter who has run away and is hiding in one of the school buildings.

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Of course it’s not as simple as that. The mum may or may not work for MI5, the daughter may or may not have stolen secret plans for a 24 hour surveillance system which would make George Orwell’s Big Brother a reality and then there’s Vero who may or may not be a champion of civil rights and personal freedom.

With references to fake news, the threat of random terror attacks and a loss of faith in the political establishment, Traitor is a work for our times, but does it work as theatre? The answer is yes. After an hour of running through classrooms after dark, chasing false leads and possible red herrings the audience is asked who they would trust with the future of society - the government official or the self-styled people’s champion. The lines aren’t blurred enough to make the result anything other than a foregone conclusion, but regardless it is an unforgettable hour of theatre.