Station House Opera, Snakes and Ladders

Review in Issue 10-2 | Summer 1998

Despite the publicist's claims, as is so often the case with site-specific work, the visual qualities of the site itself and the images created from it are stronger in this performance than the dramatic content. Despite this, however, Snakes and Ladders is clever, witty, inventive and humorous.

The images and action are created with fantastic precision, with the structure and fabric of the building itself well used. The balconies, doors, windows, and a series of attached ladders become a sort of playground on which a sequence of images and events, which become ever more disconnected and elliptical, are presented. These events take on the nature of a domestic surrealism but in themselves are not strong or dramatic enough to sustain the piece. The level and pacing becomes rather tedious after a time; the domestic banality, whilst humorous, does not rise into a countering pathos.

At the heart of the piece is the combination of both live and recorded action. The images in both media juxtapose, clash, echo and collude as they move in and out of synch, or flow between the screen and the stages.

These are easily the most enjoyable aspect of the performance. Sitting on raised seating with the Dockhands skyline, complete with Canary Wharf and the Dome looming in the distance, Station House Opera create images which transform the site and take on some of the strangeness of the area.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. May 1998

This article in the magazine

Issue 10-2
p. 25