Performer: Nick Steur
Reviewer: Marina Spark
A lifetime of playing with and subsequently balancing rocks of various shapes and sizes has led Nick Steur to create a highly engaging piece of visual performance art. Freeze! at the Theatre Royal, Plymouth is a rare example of simple, optimistic theatrical art.
Steur begins the show with his eyes closed and a speaker balanced on his head, patiently waiting for the audience to file through to their out of doors seats on the Terrace of the Theatre Royal. The audience each have a stone on their chair. They later find out that their stone will become part of the art work to be created.
What ensues is an intriguing and captivating 45 minutes. Steur balances the stones masterfully, giving off an air of being “at one” with them. He carefully tests the balancing points, the concentration on his face being plain to see. His focus is as captivating as is the wonder that the audience feels when taking in the gravity defying structures.
Unfortunately, as the audience and Steur find out, the rocks are liable to fall in windy weather and sadly a couple of the reflective, mirror boxes were destroyed. Steur takes the mishaps in his stride and admirably begins to build on the shattered remains of the surfaces.
The recorded narration that takes place in intervals throughout the piece declares itself a distraction. As well as providing an additional level of entertainment, with his dry humour causing the odd giggle, the recording gives the audience an insight into how Steur came to create the show. The pauses in the recording create moments of reflection to accompany the contemplative feel of the piece.
While this is an enjoyable piece of visual art, and there is no denying the skill of the artist, it doesn’t have what it takes for an audience to term it an “entertaining” show. Freeze!may not be what your average theatre goer is looking for but if you are a fan of performance art and like to take the time to focus, pause and reflect then this could be for you.
Runs until 31st May 2014