Volcano Theatre, The Message

Review in Issue 9-1 | Spring 1997

This was my first experience of Volcano Theatre’s work. It was loud, red and very bloody. Unfortunately, I had a bad seat so I was unable to fully engage with the full-on attack the piece adopted. However, I still felt quite pounded by the relentless declamatory style of the choreography, emotion and spoken text. Given that The Message had been adapted by Nigel Charnock from so many textual sources including Tony Harrison, Fergal Keane, William Shakespeare and other wizards of the pen, it was perhaps inevitable that the words would present a problem.

I felt an overwhelming sense of anxiety for a cast grappling with unwieldy physical and vocal scores without being allowed to explore the material simply. Instead, they valiantly fought their way through the piece to the bitter end. I felt one warm trickle of hope when one performer spoke in near stillness about the birth of his child. This was a moment of simplicity – I wanted more of it. The physicality of that same performer as he lay naked draped by a wailing woman was also affecting. I could have witnessed his fragility all evening. This is the stuff that draws you in, humanity with all its weakness. Overall, The Message was a hotch-potch of stories about bloodletting: a raging, frantic exposition of genocide, full of sound and fury, but with a message not fully explored. However, I’m sure Volcano fans will love it.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Feb 1997

This article in the magazine

Issue 9-1
p. 26