North WestPhysical TheatreReview

The Wedding – Liverpool Playhouse

Creators: Gecko Theatre

Director: Amit Lahav

Reviewer: Clare Boswell

The joy of watching anything by Gecko is two-fold. Firstly, one knows that they are always in for an evening of the most top-notch of physical theatre. Gecko performers have an ability to glide across a stage in an almost other-worldly manner. However, the second joy of a Gecko production, and perhaps even more important than the first, is the company’s knack of being able to pummel home an abundance of important and relevant socio-political messages without ever feeling preachy or obvious. Their most recent offering The Wedding is no exception and whilst Director Amit Lahav asserts that the theme of the work is how “each of us is a bride, wedded to society”, there are numerous other messages that weave throughout this exhilarating piece.

Undeniably, however, at the heart of this production, is the notion that we are all in some way burdened by societal expectations, whether that be the expectation to settle down, make lots of money or be successful in our chosen careers. Despite a series of bleak and harrowing physical sketches, the end message is one of hope; we are not slavishly entrapped within conformity. We can escape and ‘divorce’ this way of life. We do have a choice in how we live

This isn’t the first time these messages have cropped up in a piece of theatre and it is clear that ‘The Wedding’ has been inspired by a variety of past work. The dystopian elements and sense of a faceless ruling entity certainly have more than a fleeting resemblance to both Orwell’s classic ‘1984’ and 1927’s recent production of Golem. However, originality isn’t that much of an issue when the standard of the work is this good. Lahav’s multi-national cast – all speaking in their own languages – are without exception, outstandingly good.  The physical storytelling in The Wedding is masterful.  Despite very little of the dialogue being in English, the performers very quickly establish the clear divide between those on the ‘inside’ who are willing to sell their souls to the societal corporate machine and those on the outskirts (the Proles, to quote another Orwell term).

Whilst the inner party appear to preach the importance of community, this ironically seems to fall apart when they are asked to accept someone who is not one of their own. This particular sequence ends with one of the outcasts being dressed as a suicide bomber and Gecko once again unearth some important, albeit uncomfortable questions, about societies role in the growth of terrorism.

Lahav’s brilliant direction is complemented superbly by Rhys Jarman’s set design. a relatively bare stage except for the exit of a sewage pipe stage right (that closely resembles a slide of a child’s indoor play area) and a pit of neglected teddy bears at the bottom. Both effectively add to the dystopian feel of this production and Jonathan Everett’s use of surround-sound to depict the latest arrivals journey into this world is wonderful.

Institute was always going to be a hard act to follow but Gecko have once again proven why they are the undisputed leaders in their field.

Runs until 24th February 2018 | Image: Rich Rusk

Review Overview

The Reviews Hub Score

Brilliantly Grim

The Reviews Hub - North West

The North West team is under the editorship of John Roberts. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

Related Articles

Back to top button