Darren Johnston, Ren-sa

Review in Issue 17-4 | Winter 2005

Everything surrounding Darren Johnston’s Ren-sa encouraged expectation: the premise of exploring Japanese horror through live performance, and speculation into what form this would take; the journey to an unknown space in blacked-out buses.

There were impressive aspects to the production – the main performance arena viewed through gauze walls, the floor carpeted with white dust. Intriguing use of animation heightened an already charged atmosphere, and some stunning lighting effectively transformed the space, inhabited by performers moving through subtle, unsettling sequences.

Having created such an environment, however, the material actually performed within it was not as fully explored as I had hoped for. Intense moments, and haunting images, punctuated a piece which as a whole was not hugely surprising. Intriguing as an installation and as an experience, as a performance it could have gone further. A work of inspiration, which does not yet feel fully imagined. I look forward to seeing more work by this company, and perhaps further incarnations of this piece, in the future.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Festival
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Aug 2005

This article in the magazine

Issue 17-4
p. 25