IOU Theatre, Cure

Review in Issue 13-2 | Summer 2001

You may not want to think about this, but at some time in your life you or someone you love will spend a significant amount of time in hospital. IOU's Cure takes the fear and fantasy around illness in general and hospitalisation in particular and places them at the heart of a funny, moving and sometimes beautiful performance piece. Cure contains many of the features that IOU fans will be familiar with: live music, visual tableaux and extraordinary mechanical constructions being just some of the elements of this ambitious work. Placed in the cavernous Campfield Market, the company of twenty-five performers and makers exploit the space to maximum potential, creating a series of environments exploring different aspects of the key theme. Thus, we had a demented Dr Frankenstein version of an MRI scanning unit – nuts and bolts flying as the patient fries inside. A series of interconnected rooms exploring the lottery that is the NHS featured a roulette game, a rifle range and a row of talking catheter bags. A beautiful and haunting film explored a journey – simultaneously the journey of life itself and a specific journey by ambulance following a heart attack. The telescoping and expanding of time explored could apply just as well to other crisis moments in life: the mindwarp of the last stages of labour, or a shell-shocked walk following news of a death. The final scene brings together all the elements of the production to create a suitably epic conclusion, as angels of death/sisters of mercy balance life and death on the scales and the patient wavers between actual physical presence and a fade into the realm of light. It was not a faultless production – there was an overlong and predictable opening scene and an unnecessary excursion outside to see The Leech (a giant rubber construction that pre-dates this production). But Cure was a remarkable achievement, holding a mirror up to our society's dis-ease with the notion of earthly mortality and allowing us to laugh at our folly and marvel at our resilience.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Festival

Campfield Market

Date Seen
  1. May 2001

This article in the magazine

Issue 13-2
p. 25