Company Paradiso and Ensemble Bash

Review in Issue 13-3 | Autumn 2001

Company Paradiso have established a reputation over the years for innovative physical theatre. This new work-in-progress, like their last production, I only came to use the phone, has as one of its core themes the relationship between the sexes. Director Jon Potter seems to like the ‘man-woman-doctor’ triangle, used in very different ways in both these productions, giving plenty of opportunity for explorations of themes such as power, truth and trust.

Lest this sounds like a heavy duty psychological drama, let me say that the doctor/counsellor character is played with customary hilarious buffoonery by Spymonkey’s Aitor Basauri. The couple’s angst-ridden relationship is portrayed as an extraordinary dialogue by actor Ros Philips and musician Stephen Hiscock in which her vocal pleas for communication are met with paradiddles on his drumkit: his clanger-like calls on mouth organ met by her St Vitus Dance. Here is a rare thing: theatre that uses not just live music but the intrinsic musicality of voice and movement as a crucial element of the piece.

Hiscock’s own company, Ensemble Bash, perform live percussion with true theatrical awareness. A symphony played on a dinner table started the set – which went on to include a John Cage piece. They presented supposedly ‘difficult’ pieces of avant garde music with confidence to a packed house as part of a community festival – proving, as Company Paradiso had done earlier, that artists do not need to ‘dumb down’ to have popular appeal.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Jun 2001

This article in the magazine

Issue 13-3
p. 23