The Special Guests, Nightfall

Review in Issue 20-4 | Winter 2008

With this solstice performance of Nightfall, The Special Guests conclude the tour of their most recent work; a time-specific investigation into the daily disappearance of the sun, performed at dusk on each date of the tour.

Moving between scientific explanation and social exploration of what this period of liminality means, the performance maintains a sincere but playful attitude to its subject matter as the four performers argue, dance, and explain their way through the evening.

This sense of play lies at the root of much of Nightfall. Whilst the exuberance of the company occasionally veers dangerously close to self-indulgence, on the whole the company manages to remain on the right side of such excesses, well in the domain of the endearing.

The biggest problem lies however in the way that the performance tackles it’s timespecificity. Whilst the company’s use of radios to report back on the events outside the theatre overcome some of the difficulties inherent in a studio-based work that deals with issues around nightfall, this feels to be little more than a tokenistic gesture. It is a device akin to doing a site-specific work but not actually taking the audience to the site, only describing it to them.

Nightfall is an entertaining performance, quirky and charismatic, which unfortunately falls short of its potential to occupy a unique space in time. On the longest day of the year, when this promise should be at its greatest, such a failing sadly felt all the more poignant.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Festival
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Jun 2008

This article in the magazine

Issue 20-4
p. 36