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BE FESTIVAL: Betelgez – Birmingham REP

Created by: Ki Omos Kineitai (Greece)

Reviewer: John Kennedy

Political protest symbolism seethes and weaves with a dangerous and potent dynamic (quite literally at times for the cast) in Betelgez. It won’t easily be forgotten – nor should be. A see-saw construction is stage-centre focus. A suspended rope dangles from the lighting rig.

Physical Theatre combines with tightrope taut, acrobatic aerial ballet. Contrasting, conflicting muscular forces and feathered movements exploit the ‘see-saw’ through a montage of shifting, manipulative interpretations and intimidating possibilities.

Is it a trebuchet, an autopsy slab, a surfboard, a life-raft? Its existential symbolism is made corporeally relevant as the cast precariously strive to establish a collaborative equilibrium – however fragile. A life-affirming, a life-saving balance of common purpose their goal.

If the fall of the Berlin Wall tableau is more or less telegraphed, it does little to compromise its stunning climax – though, perhaps that is the original intention – clues are scattered like confetti shrapnel. The four performers establish a unified balanced grace, a momentary epiphanic state of perfect harmony. Their medium becomes the message.

Reviewed on 6 July 2017 | Image: Contributed

Taking place between July 4 – 8, BE FESTIVAL is a cross-pollinating and boundary-smashing explosion of theatre, dance, circus, comedy, music, visual and performing arts giving audiences the opportunity to explore and enjoy the backstage areas of The REP where the Construction Workshop acts as a Hub to the festival.

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Tightrope taut, acrobatic intense

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The Central team is under the editorship of Selwyn Knight. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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