Counting sheep (
Counting sheep

Counting sheep an award winning immersive Ukrainian folk opera which triumphed at Edinburgh in 2016 before joining forces with the Belarus Free Theatre and touring the world, it now makes its London debut as part of this years VAULT festival.
Counting Sheep tells the story of The 2014 Kiev uprising (A series of violent clashes between protesters, riot police, and armed forces which culminated in the ousting of corrupt pro Russian president President, Viktor Yanukovych, and the overthrow of the Ukrainian Government.) Through the eyes of people who witnessed it.

On the night I am due to review this production the weather is absolutely arctic, having found the venue I wait in a line of hunched figures in coats, the wind and snow blowing onto the screens of our phones heightens the immersive vibe making me feel like I am already in the depth of a Soviet winter, so I am very glad when we are ushered through security and into the building, once inside theatre space we are seated around what appears to be a banquet table made out of wooden blocks.
Presently an earnest young Canadian man stands up and starts to tell us about his gap year in Eastern Europe exploring his Ukrainian heritage, as he reminisces about his grandmothers cooking, trays of soviet style canapés are passed along the rows for us to sample. ‘Well this is cute,’ I thought as I helped myself to a pickled gherkin. 
But then the music started, beginning with a drum beat then suddenly a troupe of dancers and musicians emerge from the corners of the room encouraging us to get up and leave our seats, we clap and stamp our feet in time to time to traditional Ukrainian folk tunes, the show has come to life and before long we are building barricades and brandishing riot shields as the story of the 2014 Kiev uprising are played out before us. 
In the background snippets of news coverage of the event mixed with live footage from the actors’ phones are projected onto roughly hewn sacking, further adding to the illusion that you are right there with the protestors on the front line.
But despite the carnage we also witness kindness, courage and a real life love story as the shows creators, classical pianist Marichaka and Canadian tourist Mark are brought together amid the chaos and united by their desire to help those around them.
An emotionally charged rollercoaster of a production, by far the most engaging piece of immersive theatre I’ve ever witnessed - Counting sheep will run from Jan 27th - March 17th at the Vaults theatre, Catch it while you can, you won’t be disappointed!