Director: Alice Langley
Reviewer: Christy Ku
The Voiceless – a performance that combines physical theatre, circus and dance to create a disappointing and awkward experience.
The show opens with an overused cliché of performance theatre – they are unable to connect to each other so they stretch their hands towards each other before turning away, trying to touch and then rolling on the floor. The acrobatics are relatively basic – simple lifts and balancing acts, with very few stunts impressive enough to raise an eyebrow, and each one needs a long pause to set up.
The Voiceless is disjointed and dull. The show declares it is about choosing between a world of reality and fantasy, but instead goes down tangent after tangent, attempting far too many themes. It skims through betrayal and forgiveness, love and rejection, power and abuse, failure to find connections – to name a few – and all without any depth. While the ideas are interesting and full of potential, The Voiceless fails to explore them.
For example, Zoë Bullock interacts her prop, a ball of light, in ways that called to mind the prevalence of smartphones in one’s day to day life. Through her routine, the audience is shown our obsession with it, how it’s always by our side, gazing into it to reflect ourselves and our oblivion to our surroundings. However, her routine ends and simply repeats occasionally to give some sense of structure to the show.
By halfway through, The Voiceless does not feel like a performance for an audience but more like being in the same room as a group children playing a game of pretend and ignoring anyone else who is not involved. There is a complete loss of space, as the performers act out scenes but they repeatedly walk over lines they set with no clear boundaries for imaginary objects or settings.
The music, composed by Samuel Beagles, is disastrous. Immensely grating, it sounds like someone has used a mix of alternative voices found on an electronic keyboard. The same tinny riffs play over and over on top of electronic droning and the tracks are very poorly mixed together. At times, the previous track simply ends and the next begins on the following beat. Its best attempts to create atmosphere include an increase in volume and switching to a minor key at dramatic moments.This is incredibly disappointing as for a silent play, music becomes even more crucial than in a conventional play. Instead, it was an irritating backing track.
The chemistry between the cast is good, they are unafraid to lift, climb on top of each other or simply embrace passionately and are emotive through their movements. The lighting design by Perttu Lähdesmäki is excellent, telling stories with colours and harshness.
A disappointing, messy show that has so much potential but is poorly executed.
Runs until 25 March 2017 | Image: Contributed