Director: Ewan Downie
Reviewer: Michelle Haynes
It’s not often that a show leaves an audience sitting in silence for two minutes after the cast has left, but this is exactly what Company of Wolves production Invisible Empire has achieved. Ewan Downie’s direction presents the audience with 55 minutes of exhaustive vocal and physical performance that is set to leave the viewer speechless.
Company of Wolves confronts us with a performance questioning the alienation of our society, the oppressions we tackle and the courage it takes to stand up against it. With a wealth of physical techniques from Polish Experimental Theatre to contact improvisation, the cast’s bodies are pushed to the limit. Prepare for unexpected brutality, tenderness, fear and exhaustion all at once created through everyday movements and repetition. This is combined with a haunting vocal chorus throughout that is certain to cause goose bumps.
With the use of repetition and overlapping of dialogues, Company of Wolves performance is a stunning critique of today’s society. It explores our fear of intimacy, the loneliness we feel, how pleasure can quickly turn into pain and the struggle we face to overcome these things. Credit should be given to the whole company, whose physicality was faultless and created striking images through simple movements that were replicated and altered throughout the performance. Particular praise should be given to Anna Porubcansky whose vocal control was astounding and carried the whole piece in particular the choral elements. Another highlight was the innovative use of chairs which were employed not only as objects within the physical score but also as instruments, creating sounds and music from the cast who dragged and hit them with towels. The entire performance had a striking innocence which gave the audience the intimate feeling they had been let in on a piece that was ever-changing, never quite finished. Although the piece felt very slow to start, the contrast of the careful build up to the frantic end was an evocative image of power, distress and solidarity. Only running for one more day in Edinburgh, audiences better catch this glint of raw perfection before its gone.
Runs till 27th April 2014 then touring
Image: Brian Hartley