Review: show closed
[Average rating of our reviews]
Image: Battersea Arts Centre
A nightmarish tale of love, betrayal and technological power from the multi-award winning makers of Translunar Paradise and Ballad of the Burning Star.
Inspired by Edward Snowden's revelations and state surveillance, Theatre Ad Infinitum conjures an Orwellian future where a totalitarian regime monitors the thoughts of its citizens through implants.
Blending anime-style storytelling and pulsating soundscapes, Light draws audiences into its sci-fi realm.
Torchlight innovatively illuminates this wordless production set atmospherically in darkness.
Theatre Ad Infinitum's work defies easy categorisation.
Effortlessly switching styles in service of its latest subject, the international ensemble's productions have been touring the world since 2008.
Light is a co-commission by the London International Mime Festival, produced in association with Redbridge Drama Centre and The Lowry, and supported by Arts Council England, and Theatre Bench.
Go back a mere three decades or so and hardly anyone, except those involved in the computer technology business, had even heard of a personal computer, let alone possessed one.
Now, life would almost be impossible if we did not have our desktop computers, laptops, tablets and mobile phones.
But the pace of technological change is advancing at a dizzying rate - robotics and artificial intelligence, together with computers that learn as they get new data means that our lives are set to change even faster and more profoundly than we've previously experienced.
In this audaciously ambitious work - now enjoying its fourth London run - Theatre Ad Infinitum give us a glimpse of what might be in store for us in the future.
And it's an alarming and disturbing prospect that is based on extrapolated reality, rather then science fiction.
For almost the duration of the show, we're in near-total darkness - don't let that put you off because there is still sufficient light not to feel beset by claustrophobia.
Set some 60 or so years in the future, we find ourselves in a time where the idea of communicating with computers via keyboards, touch screens or speech has been superseded with brain implants which 'plug' human beings directly into the worldwide computer system.
Devised by well-intentioned scientists, the development enables the state to also plug-in directly to the brains of its people and since the implant technology is mandatory rather than merely being voluntary, the state has acquired ultimate power to control and manipulate its citizens.
Written and masterfully directed by George Mann, both the storyline and the action prove extraordinarily compelling - spellbinding might be a better word, but superlatives here are almost inadequate for a show that acts as a horrific warning whilst managing to also be enormously enjoyable, even if that sounds somewhat contradictory.
I have slight reservations about whether the detailed description of the development of the 'implant' needed to be spelt-out so obviously because I'm pretty certain we could have pieced together the essential elements of the backstory through focusing on the work of the central 'agent' in the plot.
However, that is a highly subjective quibble which does nothing to compromise the enormous effectiveness of this remarkably powerful piece.
For the most part, the excellent cast of five need to orchestrate their movements in darkness, and the format calls for incredibly fast moves which are executed with flawless and surprising split-second timing.
The seamless production is further augmented with one of the finest soundscapes you're ever likely to hear - wonderfully collated and devised by Chris Bartholomew, who is also responsible for the fine composition.
Hugely prophetic, and chillingly realistic in its implications, this is a stunningly executed vision of how computer technology may be used in the future to control human beings.
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ActDrop listing for Battersea Arts Centre
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