The Wedding

The Wedding feels quite different from the other Gecko shows I’ve seen (Overcoat, Institute, Dreamer).  There’s less of the usual warmth, and it’s more episodic, broken up into discrete chunks as opposed to a coherent narrative, perhaps more reminiscent of ‘street theatre’.  It feels bigger, focusing on groups of people rather than allowing us to engage with individuals.  From the programme notes director Amit Lahav says ‘we have created a dystopian world in which every one of us is a bride, wedded to society’.

In terms of style it’s a fusion of physical theatre and contemporary dance.  The production opens with individuals sliding down a chute and exchanging their teddy bear for a wedding dress to become wedded to society.  Each person then embarks on their own journey, covering areas such as relationships, work, power and migration.  A wide range of performance styles are on display, from large scale dance, set pieces with individuals at work stations or seated under lampshades, to a migration scene that verges on intimate clowning.  Spoken word is presumably in the performer’s native tongue, which works well because the important thing is how we feel about what is happening, not the words themselves.

There is an excellent Lyn Gardner interview with the Artistic Director who says that ‘The magic of a Gecko show is it allows people to author the show themselves through the prisms of what we are setting up with lighting, sound, movement and design‘.  Certainly, this production is very much a series of scenes that mesh together to create an emotion of what it means to be part of a society, and to question what happens when you want something different.  But how well can you engage with this show?  There is a risk that the fragmented structure of the production means that each individual audience member will identify with specific characters in specific situations, but less with the overall work.

But perhaps this is a production that you need to absorb rather than understand.  In the end it all comes together and it’s surprisingly satisfying.  Dystopian, yes, at times bleak, but ultimately with a positive message.

HOME until 16 Sept 2017.

photo credit: Richard Haughton

Theatre lover, amateur director, occasional actor, writer.

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