The Spirit by Thibault Delférière, Battersea Arts Centre, London to 14th March 2020 4**** Mark Courtice

The Spirit

Created and performed by Thibault Delférière in collaboration with Jack McNamara


Battersea Arts Centre, Lavender Hill, London SW11 5TN

27 Feb – 14 Mar at 8pm.

Part One: 27 – 29 Feb 2020 | Part Two: 5 – 7 Mar 2020| Part Three: 12 – 14 Mar 2020

£12.50 – £10 | | 020 7223 2223

BAC is now a relaxed venue. Details at

Runs 50 minutes no interval.


Review of Part One Mark Courtice 27th February 2020

Delférière enters dragging a weight behind him. His gait is wandering, despite placing his feet firmly on the ground. This is special movement, weighty but unpredictable. Born with cerebral palsy, for Delférière things take longer, but he knows where he is going and gets there in the end. It’s true for the show as well.

The stage is strewn with planks, trestles, rocks. Delférière spies a green apple suspended in the air. For a man who moves as he does the picking of it is surprisingly delicate. Struck, he moves to the back of the stage and writes in black paint the words “MUST” and “SHARE”. Because everything is slow, these words (and the others he writes during the show) grow in front of you, so you end up guessing what they’ll be. Surprises emerge – “HARMONY” starts out as “harm”, “FAI… “could end up as fail or faith.

He must work hard; but despite this, the rough planks and the mess, he makes some lovely shapes. Things go wrong; a spasming hand will knock over a carefully built structure, shockingly he falls. He slowly clutches his head and gets on with it.

The visual sense is low tech, fitting in well at the newly “relaxed” performance ethos at BAC. The costume is just t-shirt and jeans, but there’s some unobtrusive, accurate, and sensitive lighting.

About 10 words are spoken during the whole thing, but musician Giuseppe Lomeo creates a continuous soundscape of bowed strings, guitar and odd percussion. With this and a gripping performance words aren’t needed, and it’s short enough at 50 minutes for the process to remain engaging. Indeed at the very last moment when Delférière says what he thinks is the value of such hard labour you sort of wish he wouldn’t – we can work it out for ourselves.

Directed by Jack McNamara

Performed by Thibault Delférière

Performed with Guiseppe Lomeo (Part One), Steve Noble (Part Two) and Sharon Gal (Part Three)


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