The Roof at Doon Street Car Park – National Theatre, London

Edited by: Online Editor – Art and Culture Department

The Roof 3

You enter a in a car park on the Upper Ground, London, the sun is shining (even if it’s not sunny the show must go on, so you might as well imagine it’s sunny) and they give you headphones. You put them on and some pre-show music starts playing.

Already feels like entering into a different dimension, all the noises and distractions of the big city disappear, and people are not able to comment or annoy you with their chit chatting.

You are ready, you know it’s going to be one hour long, and you will be standing in a car park. The stage is circular, an elevated rooftop set that surrounds you. It’s a purpose-built arena designed by Jon Bausor, set designer for the London 2012 Paralympic Opening Ceremony.

The game begins. You enter the suspended reality of an unforgiving videogame that seems to come from the 80s, creating a breathless mix of intimate three-dimensional sound and the hair-trigger movement of free running.

You will be transported into the body of a reluctant hero, desperate to stay alive. You are number 611, and you have one life left to complete as many levels as possible.


The brutal and repetitive game is accompanied by some celestial music “from out the guts of angels”, ranging from ska to electronica, with a touch of Chris Isaak and the Twin Peaks music, a beautiful sound design created by Dave Price.

The music is put up by a mysterious and pretty retro DJ, broadcasting and dancing from Radio Supermoon, locked into a transparent box on stage which becomes crucial to pass all levels of the game.

The Roof national theatre parkour show

You are going to get out of it enriched with questions and thoughts, wanting the soundtrack to play it on the way to work, and overhear a few bitter comments like “What was the moral?” or “They could have explained more”. Being used to a safe beginning / middle / end structure, or to a tv screen that we can turn on and off, we immediately get scared as soon as we are asked to think with our own brain and have our own interpretations.

The Roof is REQUARDT & ROSENBERG’s third production: conceived, directed and choreographed by co- directors David Rosenberg (co-founder of Shunt) and choreographer Frauke Requardt – after their Electric Motel and Motor Show. 

 The Roof2


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