Company Q, Charnik-1

Review in Issue 14-3 | Autumn 2002

‘In a black hole anything can happen.’ According to Company Q’s publicity. The problem is that physical reality is more limited than that. Especially under the extreme gravitational conditions of a black hole.

The claim in the programme is that Charnik-1 is ‘inspired by astronomical and cutting edge cosmological ideas’. But it has more in common with Walt Disney’s The Black Hole in its attempt to maintain a human corporeal presence. The choreography of Charlotte Hacker and the dancing of Lisa Kendall and James Flynn would, in other circumstances, be emotionally engaging. But here they are intrusive, the dancers always aware of each other, inappropriately privileging human consciousness. Again the programme: ‘… we will be testing the interaction of humans and black holes’. For their sake I hope not.

Company Q’s humanism gets in the way of their aims and subject. The space – dynamically lit and designed by Erik Rehi and the Surface Material Designer Emma Jeffs – is centred around a huge red (turning glacial blue) swirling funnel, like a plumed galaxy from a Hubble Space Telescope image. The electronica of Andy Visser is engrossing, if a little too close to the bleak wrecks of space movie soundtracks: Aliens, etc. The problem is with the humans. Romantic. Unfeasible. Metaphorical. The sublime qualities of the music and the scenography are dispersed.

Surely, to evoke the quantum events and extreme conditions of a black hole some denial of the human body has to be articulated. This show claimed to be based on cutting edge cosmology, but its physics are Newtonian.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Jun 2002

This article in the magazine

Issue 14-3
p. 26