The Wedding – Geko – New Wolsey Theatre till Sat April 22nd
There is always a buzz around a newly created Geko show. From an original idea in the mind of artistic director Amit Lahav to the finished article can take many years and metamorphosis. This particular show was given a preliminary outing in last year’s Pulse Festival and has grown from there.
That Geko are an exceptional physical theatre company is in no doubt – and each production they have crafted has had a major touring life both here and abroad. But when you have produced ground breaking original theatre like ‘The Overcoat’, ‘Missing’ and their most recent ‘Institute’ – is there anywhere else to go?
And in some respects ‘The Wedding’ does almost seems like a step back. There’s less technical wizardry then there was in ‘Institute’, and the characters seem more generic. The nine strong cast of performers create scenes that are more collaborative than individual – they are all similar in build and costumed the same. And it is also a show that seems to revisit the best bits of previous performances. There is more than a little of ‘The Overcoat’ and ‘Institute’ in the office scenes, the women have the lost, manipulated feel of ‘Missing’ – and there are many nods to ‘Institute’ in the urge of the characters to escape their chosen roles.
Geko shows are never that easy to interpret – and I think that’s deliberate – but for me ‘The Wedding’ is an allegory of our relationship to society. From the moment we are born – imagined with a tunnel at one side of the stage where every so often the light would flash and another character would be spewed out into a pile of teddy bears in their underwear – we are squeezed into a role that we are expected to fit into – and that role for many can become monotonous. The office scenes were very well portrayed with each person’s space a little box containing a phone and a desk that always seemed too small and claustrophobic for them. Even who we are partnered with can seem pre destined. How many of us choose to opt out?
This is defiantly a more danced based show then previous outings – which is a problem if dance doesn’t really speak to you in the same way as script based theatre or even physical interpretation. But it is lovely and fluid to watch – the dance sequences well crafted – each scene interesting if sometimes bewildering. There is a smattering of script but the language used is a mixture of French Spanish and Swedish amongst others. And there is a very definite Jewish influence in the early wedding dances and the music.
This is quite a serious piece – with a rather sad overtones. The humour comes from a refugee family who live in a suitcase at the side of the stage – but even they suffer a nasty demise. Although the piece does end on a chorus of triumph.
Interesting, stimulating and baffling in turns – this a production that will make you think even if you find it a little hard going. I’m sure that this piece will be revisited a number of times during its inaugural tour round the UK. If you want to see it at its current stage – catch it tonight at The New Wolsey.