by Theatre Rites
Silk Street Theatre The Barbican ) Silk Street EC2Y 8DS To 31 December 2011.
12pm 20, 22, 23, 27, 28, 30, 31 Dec.
7pm 20-23, 27, 28, 30 Dec.
Runs 1hr 15min No interval.
TICKETS: 0844 243 0785.
Review: Timothy Ramsden 19 December.
Vivaciously imaginative cycle of childhood and youth.
Anything merely good in this dance-and-music story of birth to young adulthood would stick out like a sore thumb. In imagination and execution it’s magnificent; simply as a demonstration of performance energy, discipline and skill it would be magnetic viewing. The ingenuity of its puppetry makes it moving. And the conception, focusing these skills to follow a human life from – well, conception – to adulthood – gives it a resonance that can’t be reduced to defined points, and which celebrates the value and vibrancy inherent in mere existence.
So, once again Sue Buckmaster’s Theatre Rites shows an ability to bring fresh invention and imaginative scope to work for young people (and if you’re not so young don’t let that spoil your enjoyment). Summoned by percussion (well, a tambourine, working miracles of sound gradations in Adriano Adewale’s skilled hand), figures come from among the audience to enter an onstage aperture. It’s as if the society surrounding a new-born child is being collected.
Leo Altarelli’s in at the birth, his trumpet blowing what appear to be smoke-rings, except they finally coalesce into a face, and after various sticks shape themselves around the musicians, a tiny baby’s formed. Then the stage opens-up, as this girl’s world expands and she grows taller, eventually bursting into fashion and attitude, upon entering the years of temperament and sulks.
This protagonist, surrounded by eight high-energy dancing performances, is a puppet which becomes as expressive as the flesh and blood, pulsing-lunged humans in constant motion all around her.
As a puppet, she can be archetype as well as individual. And, as with any young person, the world around her is constantly changing, producing a series of sometimes linked, often disconnected, colours, sounds and sensations. Mojo’s success lies in presenting such a kaleidoscopic swirl as entertaining in its own right, while giving – as ingeniously as the puppet protagonist is constructed in the early part – the sense of how disparate elements fuse in the crucible of individual experience to form what can probably best be called a life.
Which is what this show has in physical, aural and imaginative abundance.
Performers: Adriano Adewale, Leo Altarelli, Cody Choi, Laura Cubitt, Mohsen Nouri, Simon Palmer, Tanya Richam-Odoi, Clemmie Sveaas.
Puppeteer: Sarah Fitzpatrick.
Directors: Sue Buckmaster, Arthur Pita.
Designer/Lighting: Peter Mumford.
Composers: Adriano Adewale, Leo Altarelli.
Music Director: Keith Clouston.
Choreographer: Arthur Pita.
Costume: Suzy Peters.
Puppets: Michael Fowkes.
Magic consultant: John van der Put.
Assistant designer: William Reynolds.