THE VANISHING HORIZON
by Idle Motion.
Tour to 15 May 2012.
Runs 1hr No interval.
Review: Timothy Ramsden 31 March at Trestle Arts Base St Albans.
Story of women flyers takes visual flight.
They sit around on suitcases, waiting for things to begin. Suitcases matter in Idle Motion’s show. There’s an avian/avion link between it and touring partner The Seagull Effect, though Horizon has the larger emotional tug, with its family drama as a daughter flies to South Africa to collect and scatter her mother’s ashes. They’re in a biscuit-tin. She’d asked for that, as she’d demanded no-one wear black at her funeral.
The Vanishing Horizon, a title with Tennysonian overtones of striving, and seeking, is full of energy. The mother/daughter story, attended by details of air-travel and mobile-‘phone communication with home plays its part in a piece where communications matter; another thread is a talk on pioneer women pilots, delivered with uncertainty by a male speaker trying nervously to cope with an assertive female floor-manager who holds firm ideas on lunch-breaks.
These are elements in the company’s inventive kaleidoscope of images exploring the early aviators, many forgotten. In one case, because her family didn’t want it known their nice US daughter was flying above the earth – earlier and further than the Wright brothers whom history remembers.
As with Seagull Effect Idle Motion’s Achilles’ heel is speech. In movement they’re fine, the inventive variety of their imagery astounding. Suitcases transform, open or shut, into a variety of objects while maps suddenly part to reveal the next aviator to take flight. The simple device of paper airplanes is given new life.
And the breadth of images has a beautiful economy; every one makes its point. Each adds to the overall whirl of the airborne world. An evident excitement builds without any sense of hurry. The family story grounds (in the most positive sense) the flights of theatrical fancy in the historical stories.
The five performers work as a true ensemble, with a sympathy and co-operation that has a sibling-like understanding. These people seem to have known each other’s ways from birth, apparently responding and cooperating instinctively.
Both the shows share a wind-machine (if you’ve got one, use it) and mix a personal story with a wider, scientific or technological, interest to create exhilarating theatre.
Female Aviators: Grace Chapman, Sophie Cullen.
James: Nicholas Pitt.
Anna: Ellie Simpson.
Kitty: Kate Stanley.