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The Wedding – YouTube

Reviewer: Maryam Philpott

Created by: Amit Lahav

 We’re all doing our social duty at the moment by staying home and limiting the spread of Coronavirus, so this is the perfect time to rewatch Gecko’s 80-minute theatre and movement piece about the marriage to society and the relationship between the individual and the state. Showing on Gecko’s YouTube channel for four days, on screen this cinematic show is just as intriguing and inventive as it was on stage.

Set in a faceless authoritarian regime, individuals arrive via a chute onto a pile of teddy bears where they are immediately given a wedding dress regardless of gender and a ceremonial integration into society takes place. But Sophie (Lucia Chocarro) resists, desperate to escape the new world she is forced into and when refugee Hali (Chris Evans) disguises himself as a worker, an uprising begins.

The Wedding is a show that integrates mime, movement, dance and storytelling to create an impressionistic image of an authoritarian society. As part of a UK tour, the show recently appeared at the Barbican in 2019 as part of the International Mime Festival. The camerawork in this filmed version sometimes feels a little too far away to truly connect with the individual narratives but the staging effects and the varied musical choices that take in folk, choral, opera and jazz are especially enjoyable.

The first 45-minutes establish the social structure and processing system that turns ‘free’ individuals into useful members of society through the wedding ceremony, hinting at the frustrations of routine and class divide. A particularly good sequence looks at the relationship between a male and female worker filled with the exhaustion and frustration of habit that results in arguments and dependency. Imagined using puppet versions of everyday objects including a tie, bottles, and a briefcase on sticks, the scene rapidly changes location and time, eliciting emotion from the soft music as the couple play out their sad routine.

With about 35-minutes to go, the story begins to take shape as the office workers gather in their drab grey-brown office and Sophie’s increasing panic is visualised in large gestures, screams and exclamations. From this point the show feels much tighter and as events move quickly, the noirish mood of Joe Hornsby’s lighting creates largescale blackout on the stage to focus on small boxes of light or tinges of blue that represent the everyday struggle.

The show does still feel overlong, a little distracted by the different viewpoints it wants to represent that seem to fracture rather than unite the overall effect, while some of the more abstract moments, including a sequence of dancers in wedding dresses with lamps attached to their chests that develops into a scene of hate and abusive attack, aren’t as clear as they might be.

When it focuses on Sophie’s core story, The Wedding can be very powerful and, as events finally come to a head, the rhythmic movement of the revolutionary scene is effectively captured. The show does look good on screen and while some of its 80-minute runtime feels excessive, Geko are always an innovative company to watch.

Available here until 31 May 2020

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Intriguing and inventive

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The Reviews Hub London 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.

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