Review in Issue 18-4 | Winter 2006

Re-opening the refurbished Roundhouse is a grand spectacle, the latest show from the team who brought us the sensational (in all senses of the word) De La Guarda. And boy, do they have a whole lot of toys to impress us with; wind machines and moving walkways, towers of cardboard boxes and shredded paper blowing across the space, a sideways metal trampoline type thing, moving walls of shimmering foil and, most spectacular of all, a great plastic water tank that descends (not once but twice) to just above our heads, allowing us to press our hands against the membrane that divides the landlocked mortals from the merpeople swimming so tantalisingly close above. It’s a promenade piece – sort of – but we are harried and herded by moving objects and over-zealous ushers, rather than guided through the space. I’m afraid I’m a bit resistant to it all, having tired of this sort of post-Artaudian theatre of the senses. It’s all superficially impressive, but it lacks theatrical logic. Not because there’s no obvious linear narrative – theatre can be a book of poems rather than a novel – but because there seem to be too many decisions based on needing to get the most out of all this elaborate kit: I suspect the goldfish bowl thing comes down twice because it is such a big expensive effect that they need to make the most of it.

It’s fun while it lasts, but there’s nothing too much that stays afterwards, although there are a few moments of real theatrical achievement: the first time the shimmering foil surrounds us, so that we lose track of where the walls are, figures climbing and swinging and swaying alarmingly around the full 360 degrees encircling us; a group of people dancing exuberantly in what seems to me to be a shanty town house; a scattering of boxes walked through. But I want more, and more, and more, and more.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Jun 2006

This article in the magazine

Issue 18-4
p. 29