DANCE: You don't have to be a gecko to enjoy working here...
Sunday 06 February 2005
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.
`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
New UK station Russia Today gives a very bizarre view of Britain
By performing as African Americans or Indians, white people get to play act a kind of 'imaginary liberation', writes Michael Mark Cohen
New essay by JK Rowling went live on Pottermore site this morning
Top Gear presenter is no stranger to foot-in-mouth controversy
Life & Style blogs
How to carve a pumpkin for Halloween with this step-by-step tutorial
Five year old British boy becomes youngest ever qualified computer specialist
Health: When masturbation can be fatal: The practice of auto-erotic asphyxia is often concealed by a coroner's verdict. Monique Roffey looks at a lethal taboo
Woman successfully sues Google for showing her with 'part of her breast exposed' on Street View
Happy Halloween! Google celebrates All Hallows' Eve with Doodle
Pope Francis declares evolution and Big Bang theory are real and God is not 'a magician with a magic wand'
Huge surge in Ukip support after EU funding row, according to new poll
Ukip ‘exploiting grooming scandal’ to secure party’s first police chief
Nigel Farage: 'There’s nothing wrong with white people blacking up'
Maureen Lipman says 'she can't vote Labour while Ed Miliband is leader'
Muslims, immigration and teenage pregnancy: British people are ignorant about almost everything
- 1 'Nasa Confirms Six Days of Darkness in December': No, they don't - it's a hoax
- 2 Canadian actor punched in face after 'Islamophobia' experiment goes wrong in wake of Ottawa shooting
- 3 Topshop at centre of row over body image as 'shocking' skinny mannequin photo goes viral
- 4 Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson criticised for beer tweet
- 5 The bubble bursts for Sodastream
£22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: The JobAt ...
£22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: Calling al...
£100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: EYFS Teachers - East Essex...
£19200 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: Are you a ...