Perpetual Motion Theatre, ‘One’ - (the Other)

Review in Issue 10-4 | Winter 1998

Perpetual Motion Theatre’s latest production ‘One’ - (the Other) is a journey through the over-crowded, unfriendly and automated city. The piece, performed in a variety of languages and in an exuberant physical style by an international cast of four actors, is directed by Emi Slater.

As a study of alienation in contemporary urban life – from the suited and booted city execs who shout into their cellphones, to the rush hour tube trains in which the commuters are packed tight as sardines – Perpetual Motion point a familiar picture. Fecund theatre, whose show Fascinations from the Crowd is also currently doing the rounds, has a similar tale to tell of city life. However, Perpetual Motion use an infinitely superior and more distinctive physical and dramatic vocabulary. The company also take some unusual stylistic risks – particularly in the pacing of the performance – which ensure the show remains consistently interesting to watch. Consequently, whilst it undoubtedly tramps familiar territory, the performance always strikes an original chord.

This must in large part be due to Emi Slater’s direction, which manages to be philosophical and sardonic at the same time. She layers the performance in such a way that it remains constantly fresh and surprising. For instance, a rapid movement sequence will be intercut with a ponderous monologue or a lengthy dramatic interchange. The cast – Karin Heberlein, Alexandra Hingst, Toby Hughes and Alan Marni – work slickly in ensemble and Marni in particular has considerable presence – weaving an hypnotic spell as he switches from text spoken in Farsi to English.

What the performers lack in physical virtuosity they more than make up for in energy and enthusiasm. Thus Slater’s sometimes ambitious choreography, which is reminiscent of CandoCo and DV8, is executed with gusto and commitment.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Oct 1998

This article in the magazine

Issue 10-4
p. 24