ABOVE ME THE WIDE BLUE SKY
Young Vic (The Maria) 66 The Cut SE1 8LZ 7-28 March 2013.
Mon-Sat 7.45pm Mat Sat & 20 March 2.45pm.
Audio-described 20 March.
Captioned 22 March.
Runs 50min No interval.
TICKETS: 020 7922 2922.
Review: Stewart McGill 28 February at Warwick Arts Centre Coventry.
Well installed but not very theatrical.
The fine line between theatre and installation is a constant discussion point, it seems. There is no question that this work is a visual installation, a room in which light and shade shift, and on surround screens the skyscape of clouds sweeps and drifts as time passes. In a gallery, enabling reflection and individual response this would work well. My concern is that by formally seating the audience on four sides around a central motif it takes place in somewhere that’s much more a space for theatre.
With a soundscape by Jamie McCarthy and Charles Webber drawing on elements of the natural world, string quartets and remixed electronics, the atmosphere established is powerful and evocative. A world of nature, of time passing and a space to evoke memories.
A solo performer, Laura Cubitt, recalls the past, as with our own memories everything changes and what we have today may replace lost elements, figments and human interaction. She evokes and takes the audience on her journey of both memories and change.
By becoming theatre it does not engage the mind or the imagination for the duration of the work. The audience sit for fifty minutes listening and watching one performer in a landscape yet feel disconnected and, at times, restless. The images are strong in the collection of text and the sense of a loss of home is often moving, yet I felt outside the work and detached as though I had no option but to watch and listen whereas in a gallery installation context I would be able to take what is needed and move on.
The work is resonant, elegiac and reflective. As an installation it has much to offer and to challenge. As theatre I have to admit an amount of sheer restlessness and longing for completion.
Performer: Laura Cubit (+ Leuca, the dog)..
Directors/Designers: David Harradine/Sam Butler.
Designer: Ali Beale.
Lighting: Hansjörg Schmidt.
Sound: Charles Webber.
Music: Jamie McCarthy.
Projection: Will Duke.