COLD CALLING: Composed and Created by Nick Powell
Birmingham Rep with CBSO
Birmingham Rep Studio, 16 and 17 September 2016
Runs: 55m, no interval
BO: 0121 236 4455
Review: Alexander Ray Edser, 16 09 16
Unique and beautiful
COLD CALLING is a hauntingly beautiful work. Composer and Creator Nick Powell wrote much of the music in a hut in the in the endless days of North Norway and the music reflects, to a certain extent, the restless, shifting landscapes. But the addition of short text extracts sets up a dialectic with the music, so that the work, maybe like the icy landscape Power has as his inspiration, leads us to a resolution.
The music , given a forward motion by varying rhythms, shifts regularly from disharmony to harmony, but never really rests (though, tantalisingly, it nearly does.) Moreover, it feels as if harmony holds sway. The texts, though, whether about miss-calls or buying a pizza, are all about people seeking but never achieving connection – not achieving harmony in life.
The work is a seamless flow, in which silence plays its part. Powell invites us to dream along with the work; and he aids us in this with a seemingly endless parade of lovely melodies.
The work is much enhanced with two fine actors injecting their own energy and emotion, while retaining a poetic distance from the words. Plus the most exquisite playing from the CBSO Chamber orchestra.
There is an exception to the ‘non-connection’ of the human element – the male actor speaks of the bond of a baby looking up into the face of a parent, and extends the image to looking up at the moon, and beyond to the stars. The work comes to an extraordinarily powerful climax as the performance space is saturated with golden sunlight. All elements resolve, harmoniously, as the baby-parent image is repeated.
Zoe Beyers, Lena Zeliszewska, Colin Twigg, Kate Suthers, Catherine Arlidge, Chris Yates, Angela Swanson, Eduardo Vassallo, Hetty Snell, Julian Atkinson, Veronika Klirova, Emmet Buyren, Racheal Pankhurst, Mark O’Brien, Mark Phillips, Michael Kidd, Jonathan Holland, Anthony Howe, Toby Kearney, Andrew Herbert, James Keefe
Writer and Director: Anthony Neilson
Conductor: Jonathan Bloxham, Lighting Designer: Chahine Yavroyan
Video Designer: Simon Wainwright
Orchestrator: Ian Stephens