Mina by Nataly Lebouleux looks at the use of Conversion Therapy to ‘cure’ same-sex attraction.

Using film, evocative lighting and light boxes, physical theatre and performance art, this is at times a very beautiful show.  The performer spends a large part of the show trapped in a transparent box, initially tearing paper, then with images projected onto screens both sides of the stage.  In later stages she emerges.

The problem with this production is that especially at the start, the production is designed around ‘this is what it feels like’. This is OK for dance, but theatre needs more context.  For this audience there was a need to be grabbed by the themes; fifteen minutes of paper tearing without context is pushing it.  And I’m not convinced the perspex box is the right place for the performer; too few options to communicate this very specific topic.  There are many reasons to be ‘trapped’; what is unique about Conversion Therapy?

But as the performance develops pace, and the video takes effect, how it takes off! Using some really impressive stop motion animation,  clever lighting, inventive sound design and some effective physical theatre techniques we are immersed in the world of the patient.  We feel what she is feeling.  It’s frightening, oppressive, confusing and shocking.  Why would you even put a human being through this?

It is a credit to those who have supported this piece (Arts Council England, Trafford Creative Industries and the Waterside Arts Centre, Sale) and for HOME to put it on.  This is just the right show to challenge audiences and introduce new concepts. Yet another reason why PUSH 2017 has been such a success.

HOME’s PUSH Festival runs till Saturday 28 Jan.  Details here.

Theatre lover, amateur director, occasional actor, writer.

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