Created by: Amit Lahav
Associate Director: Rich Rusk
Music: Dave Price
Reviewer: Sophie Huggins
Many things are associated with a wedding: abundant flowers, big white dresses and loud music, but most importantly, a happy couple committing their lives to one another. All this rings true in this unforgettable depiction of a modern ceremony, with the addition of one thing: the other half of the happy couple is society.
Expertly created under the ingenious artistic direction of Amit Lahav, Gecko Theatre presents a sensational production, one that undoubtedly tests the limits of physical storytelling through incredibly intricate choreography. Set in a dystopian future in which every person can marry society, this committed ensemble explore the consequences of that relationship, as a group and following a solo couple. Initially, there is a joy, an upbeat energy to the marriage, much like a honeymoon period, yet this soon turns to monotony and desperation for a way out. Attention is also turned to those living on the fringes of this partnership; a homeless man and his family struggling to survive as unmarried citizens of the modern world. All contained within the parameters of Rhys Jarman’s omnipotent set design, the action is spoken in mostly French and Spanish and the ensemble becomes primary communicators with their bodies, melting and reforming effortlessly into beautifully haunting imagery that are stark reminders of the cost of being married to work.
The paradoxical image of being weighed down by a suitcase, whilst being offered a teddy bear is poignant and indicative of a modern forget to play. The entire unanimously committed ensemble ebb and rise through a streaming current of constant rhythm changes – bubbles of vocal anarchy match with a rippled stillness – and are entirely physically alive throughout the journey.
The raw humanity in this show comes from the ensemble, but the moments of magic are undeniably created by its technical elements. The sound, designed by Jonathan Everett is cinematic and all-encompassing and combined with impressive original scores by Dave Price, the music is able to perfectly complement the action, yet viscerally provoke its audience. The lighting too, by Joe Hornsby is staggeringly picturesque, from ominous stark beams to intimate hand-held lighting, Hornsby plays an enormous part in creating remarkable stage pictures.
When looking at Gecko’s past work, such as The Time of Your Life, this company have the extraordinary capability to pierce the heart of a subject and essentially remind us what it is to be human. Riddled with poetic imagery, social relevance and fascinating creative choices, this impressive production places strikingly resonant images on stage that society can’t always see in real life; a powerful act in a packed out theatre. Jarman’s design allows the action to elevate to an epic scale through his endless metaphorical implications; journeying through the suitcases, veils through lamps and statue dictators through stilt puppets. Therefore, the story in the conventional sense of the word is there for all to see, if the audience is brave enough to open their eyes; a poignant notion in today’s concealed world.
Reviewed on 3 October 2017 | Image: Contributed