Director: Robert Softley Gale
Choreographer: Rachel Drazek
Dramaturg: Luke Pell
Reviewer: Stephanie Whitelock
Creating entertaining and innovative theatre that also promotes the work of artists with physical limitations, Birds of Paradise Theatre Company aims to force a change in Scottish theatre. Their latest piece of work Purposeless Movements achieves this.
Cleverly created to tell the story of men living with cerebral palsy, you would be forgiven for expecting a somewhat solemn performance, and there’s no doubt that there is a level of uncertainty upon the performance’s commencement, but any initial concerns are quickly quashed. Light-hearted and humorous, the opening dialogue sets the tone for the rest of the performance. Purposeless Movements opens the audience’s eyes to living with Cerebral Palsy and how it can impact one’s life as well as one’s movement.
Filled throughout with self-deprecating, sometimes inappropriate jokes, along with an assortment of different experiences, the stories of the actors bring both laughter and tears to the audience – while striving to create a relaxed atmosphere, the work also sometimes touches on an underlying darkness. Each actor adds something unique to the performance, each complimenting one another and helping to create a truly memorable story. In particular, Laurence Clark showcased his comedic skills perfectly and proved why he is internationally acclaimed in his chosen profession.
The diversity in the use of live music, lighting, videography and movement creates an intricate story which at times is an emotional rollercoaster. One minute the music is upbeat, the actors are joking and the audience is laughing and the next, the stage is in semi-darkness, the music is faint and the emotion behind the story has hushed the audience. Specifically, the music by Scott Twynholm and Kim Moore is flawless helping to create a seamless transition between stories; the music encapsulated the atmosphere of the performance.
Comical yet at times poignant, Birds of Paradise Theatre Company have created an enlightening production which explores movement with a whole new concept.
Robert Softley Gale’s vision is for the audience to see life from a very different perspective and his vision is surely accomplished. In fact, Purposeless Movements goes as far to answer its own question: “do movements have a purpose?” With an educational, humorous and all-round clever production, the so-called ‘Purposeless Movement’ is without a doubt entirely purposeful.
Runs until 27 February 2016 | Image: Mihaela Bodlovic