'In this way I shall preserve many things that would otherwise be lost in oblivion. I shall find daily employment for myself, which will save me from indolence and help to keep off the spleen, and I shall lay up a store of entertainment for my after life.'

For James Boswell posts please follow the labels on the right.

This blog mainly contains reviews from the Edinburgh Festivals from 2008 to 2010 which I wrote for the Edinburgh Festivals Magazine. These reviews cover everything from comedy to contemporary dance; children's theatre to Handel.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Mortal Engine Review

Mortal Engine

An elemental static surrounds Mortal Engine. It is a visually stunning symphony of light and noise, sucking us into a world of throbbing energy, lighting storms and ominous drones.

In the beginning the stage is void and without form. Gradually a pulsating energy develops into a network of dazzling lights, each competing with another. From this a single vulnerable body emerges, as if at the moment of creation. Each stretch and twitch of the crumpled figure generates light, sound and colours on an empty landscape. Yet the glimmer of helpless life is soon absorbed by a scuttling dark mass, which envelops the gasping body in horrific fashion. This Darwinian theme of survival is returned to throughout the performance and bodies rarely exist in harmony. Some resist carnivorous competition; others remain subdued to the mercy of the elements. As a result much of the movement has a desperate and distraught quality to it.

This emotional appeal is interesting considering the performance is, in essence and realisation, infested with technology. Each flinch of organic matter creates a computer generated response, creating pattern and sound on stage. As a result human ability is often eclipsed or violently restrained by an overarching omnipotent energy. Despite this dominance of technology the vulnerability and versatility of the human body is thus exposed. This does, however, mean that much of the performance is less about dance and more about the battery of lighting, sound systems, smoke and lasers brought to bear on the audience.
As a result the smoke and lights of this show often blind us to what is essentially mediocre or repetitive movement and dance. Nonetheless this is a spectacular treat for the senses and leaves a real sense of awe.

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