DANCE: You don't have to be a gecko to enjoy working here...

The puzzle is why a physical theatre company would call itself Gecko - an ugly, scaly thing by most people's reckoning. But once you see this group in action - their latest show rounds off the London Mime Festival - you begin to see how well the name fits. Geckos are fast little movers (zoological fact: they move three times as far per unit of energy than any other animal of similar size) and the five members of this human group barely pause for breath in an hour.

The Race is a cartoon-style study of one man's existential crisis, following his movements through a day at the office and an energetic clubbing spree. The show draws chiefly on a mix of rough-and-tumble dance and bouncy caricature, relying on props such as office tables and swivel chairs, and less successfully, bungee ropes. The show's most stylish visual device is a mobile cut-out aperture in the front cloth which allows individuals - or parts of them, or several in sequence - to be tightly framed in a moving window of light with the rest of the stage blacked out. It's like peering through a chink in a fence. Focus is intensified, details leap out. Framed so, a man in a suit walks briskly on a treadmill, clearly on his way to work. In fact the treadmill is set on a slow revolve which makes it seem that the spectator is in motion and the figure on stage is static - a mind-swimming effect that could have been exploited further. But the framing idea is a smart piece of design, literally keeping the show flowing as it scans horizontally across the stage, cleverly suggesting claustrophobia as the dark edges close in.

There is some lovely comedy in a frenetic office scene, with people tipping out of chairs only to tip back into another that has deftly zoomed into place under their bottom. There's a perky coffee-drinking gag, with cups passed and drained and recycled on a kinetic loop. Meetings take place on a table top using colleagues' heads as stools. Surfing from image to image, the swell of physical energy is explosive. The point being made is that, for all our frantic yakking into phones, jawing in meetings, hammering out emails, people are not communicating. The trouble is, this all looked such fun, it made me want to work in an office.

One of Gecko's trademarks is that its performers speak. Not that there's a text, exactly - this is an abstract, choral use of spoken sound, with crescendos and sudden diminuendos that leave odd phrases stranded and eerily clear. The group has clearly worked hard on this technique, and brings it off with panache. Less memorable is the fuzzy narrative, though I did love the moment when the protagonist picks up the phone only to hear a new born baby crying. Taking a pair of scissors, he promptly snips through the phone flex and cradles the receiver in the crook of his elbow - every inch the new father.

jenny.gilbert@independent.co.uk

`The Race': BAC (020 7223 2223), to 13 February; Brighton Komedia (01273 647100), 15-19 February; Warwick Arts Centre (024 7652 4524), 23-26 February

Suggested Topics
News
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete tomorrow
News
people'I’d rather have Fred and Rose West quote my characters on childcare'
News
Kim Jong Un gives field guidance during his inspection of the Korean People's Army (KPA) Naval Unit 167
newsSouth Korean reports suggest rumours of a coup were unfounded
Arts and Entertainment
You could be in the Glastonbury crowd next summer if you follow our tips for bagging tickets this week
music
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Kylie performs during her Kiss Me Once tour
musicReview: 26 years on from her first single, the pop princess tries just a bit too hard at London's O2
News
peopleSwimmer also charged with crossing double land lines and excessive speeding
Arts and Entertainment
A new Banksy entitled 'Art Buff' has appeared in Folkestone, Kent
art
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Senior Marketing Manager - Central London - £50,000

    £40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (Campaigns, Offlin...

    Head of Marketing - Acquisition & Direct Reponse Marketing

    £90000 - £135000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Marketing (B2C, Acquisition...

    1st Line Service Desk Analyst

    £27000 - £30000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client who are...

    Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Birmingham - Huxley Associates

    £18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Huxley Associates are currentl...

    Day In a Page

    Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

    Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

    and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
    Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

    Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

    The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
    Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

    Last chance to see...

    The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
    So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

    Truth behind teens' grumpiness

    Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
    Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

    Hacked photos: the third wave

    Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
    Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

    Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

    Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
    Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

    Education, education, education

    TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
    It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

    It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

    So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
    This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

    Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

    Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
    We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

    Inside the E15 'occupation'

    We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
    Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

    Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

    Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
    Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

    Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

    The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
    Witches: A history of misogyny

    Witches: A history of misogyny

    The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
    Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

    Meet the most powerful woman in US television

    Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
    'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

    Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

    Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style