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LIGHT – Barbican Theatre, London.

LightHaving seen their initial 40 minute scratch performance of Light this time last year, I s strangely intrigued to see how Theatre Ad Infinitum’s production has developed over the year and whether the technical gimmicks will overshadow the 70 minute narrative with no spoken dialogue.

Staged in a confined area of the theatre space, almost entirely in darkness for the duration, the use of a complex set would be pretty pointless. Instead various LED torches and lights take ownership of the stage and control our view of what is appropriate to watch, supported by subtitles to indicate what is being ‘said’ in each scene.

Perhaps the most difficult element to explain is the narrative. Inspired by a nightmare, we are transported to the future, where light is a form of communication through implants, which slowly develops into a way of manipulation within the mind. Throw in a dictator, some terrorists and rebels and the complex story develops.

The slick and precise choreography of every performer is undeniably magnificent and reflects the hard work ploughed into this project. For a first time audience member you will be captivated at the beginning due to the overwhelming, dramatic and unique technicalities of Light and at the end where the gripping narrative comes into full focus with a climactic finale. However focus may be lost a little in-between as the storyline at this stage is unclear, and the repetitive nature of similar lighting styles prove a tad tiresome. The characters themselves are fairly two dimensional which has nothing to do with lack of talent, but rather the relentless quick-fire scenes that don’t allow any sense of depth and the surfaces of the characters’ personas are merely scratched. Also scattered amongst the dystopia are many jaw dropping visuals, which on their own convey more about the powerful themes integrated into the performance than moments of interaction between the characters.

Nevertheless I am a sucker for a satisfying ending and you must try to stick with the plot as it gets better throughout, with the last twenty minutes unravelling any uncertainty within the piece. Theatre Ad Infinitum are not the type of company to produce wishy washy, easy going, straight pieces of theatre; every production is bold, explosive and brave – therefore undoubtedly controversial. Light is no exception, however the execution of almost dance-like choreography alongside such a specific soundtrack is near perfection, even if the story doesn’t quite match up.

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Reviewed 20/01/2015

By Natalie Green

20th – 24th January 2015
The Pitt, Barbican, London, EC2Y.



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