Aurélien Bory is a regular at the London International Mime Festival, having astounded audiences with Plan B and Plus Au Moins Infini, amongst others. He creates fascinating performances that merge dance, circus, and large-scale installation type sets to awing affect. In this year’s offering, Plexus, he continues to dazzle.
The definition of the word ‘plexus’ is a network of nerves or vessels in the body or an intricate network or web-like formation. For his collaboration with dancer, choreographer, and videographer Kaori Ito, Bory has created a kind of giant puppet turned inside-out that creates infinitely intriguing imagesThe undoubted star of the show is this huge cube of hanging strings in which Ito’s body is enveloped. Over fifty-five minutes Ito goes from raging against the web that encases her, to being suspended, fifteen feet high in the air. She certainly gives Spiderman a run for his money – darting up, down, across. At one point she is draped in black and resembles a moth fluttering towards light, desperate to escape.
It’s a mesmerising performance that continually surprises. You’re never quite sure whether Ito is a woman in control of her destiny and her actions or whether she is being manipulated by an outside force. At times she forcefully stamps her feet as she thrashes through the surrounding forest of strings as if she is raging against the world. Her movements and breath are amplified to reverberate around the Sadler’s Wells auditorium, heightening the senses of entrapment, anger, pain, or effort.
The cube is lit magnificently by Arno Veyrat, so that at times Ito completely disappears before magically re-appearing in mid-air. Elsewhere the cube transforms into a video-game type sci-fi set, lime greens reflected onto each and every string.
As a whole, the piece is a mysterious one that gives no answers to its eager audience. It’s a spectacle, and in that respect is incredibly successful. I can’t help but wonder how much more could be achieved if Bory and Ito added narrative layers and a clearer emotional trajectory to their box of utterly unique theatrical tricks.