6 February 2012

{Event(Dimension);} at Jacksons Lane

I fancied seeing something a little unusual and {Event(Dimension);} by The Sugar Beast Circus was certainly that.

Jacksons Lane was the venue for the evening which was not much of a surprise given that everything that I've seen there has been on the weird side of usual in a nice and stimulating way.

{Event(Dimension);} takes its theme from the worlds of Newtonian and Quantum physics. The first we all learnt at school and explains why apples fall and planets orbit whereas the regarding the second Richard Feynman, one of its greatest teachers, famously said, "If you think you understand quantum mechanics, you don't understand quantum mechanics".

The fun starts when you collect your ticket at the box office and are given a "0" or a "1" label to wear. Come show-time the "0"s and "1"s are led in different directions.

I was led in to the main theatre, a little smaller than I remembered it, where three identically dressed and wigged girls were miming to electronic music with some animations playing on the screen at the back of the stage.

Once we were all settled the story began. The miming continued and all the clues were given to us through written titles included in the animation.

There followed a series of short scenes, or acts, where we were given the introduction and then one, two or three identical circus girls would perform with ropes, hoops, balloons or throwing balls.

The circus acts were arty rather than technical, these were dancers giving their interpretations of the themes and the music rather than performers trying to impress us with their skills.

After half an hour or so it ended and the surprise came. We were led around the back of the stage, along narrow corridors and then in to what I realised was the other half of the theatre that we had just left, the two sides being divided by a black curtain.

The music started and one of the pennies dropped. There were two shows performed in parallel to the same music.

And as we sometimes had three girls on our stage it was obvious that there were more of them than I first thought.

The second half (or the first half if you were a "1") was not noticeably that different in format and feel to the first though light seemed to be more of a theme here (the girls wore spectral helmets for some of the scenes) whereas gravity had been prominent before (throwing, climbing, falling, etc.)

There was an after performance chat that did little to illuminate, sometimes artists can be just as self referential as philosophers are, and with the sort of questions that a guest on the Graham Norton show would have thought were a little easy we were never going to learn very much

I managed to grab a few words with the show's main creator, Geneva Foster Gluck, after the event but that merely lessened the connection in my mind between quantum physics and the performance. Not that that mattered at all, the show could be appreciated for what it is without needing to understand what inspired it.

At the core of the show is a clever (but not too clever) device to present two stories in parallel and each act within those stories is entertaining and sufficiently unusual to be stimulating too. All boxes ticked.

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