VOYAGER – New Diorama, London.
Idle Motion’s Voyager is all at once a tale of isolation and infinite love. Inspired by the story of The Golden Record (a time capsule attached to the spacecraft Voyager in the 1970s), the plot focuses tenderly on the love and loss in the life of Carrie, an English teacher who discovers more than she could imagine by pressing the play button on her childhood tape recorder.
Told through a combination of physical Theatre, dance, storytelling and conversation, the plot begins at the funeral of Carrie’s mother. Immediately the twin themes of love and loss are portrayed through not just the words, but the physicality of the eulogy Carrie, played by Grace Chapman, delivers. The cast of five work well, moving together to create location changes swiftly and effectively. Julian Spooner in the role of Ben, Carrie’s long term partner, delivers emotion in a tangible way – tenderness, resignation, anger all laced with a shred of invaluable hope. Multi-roling is used to great effect throughout Voyager, Sophie Cullen as Tilda/Mother, Ellie Simpson as Sharon/Beth and Nicholas Pitt as Jack/Father all switch between characters seamlessly, maintaining the narrative flow.
The set designed by Ellen Nabarro has great style and looks intriguing with sections cut out and replaced with different textures. However, in practicality it is slightly disappointing as it could do so much more to heighten the space, isolation and intensity of Voyager. The choice and use of furniture is clever and suits the three main environments of home, school staff room and space station perfectly. There are also some clever ‘transforming’ pieces that add a touch of theatrical magic to Voyager, and overall the stage space is used well, with precise choreography and repetition of location and movement that adds to the polemics of isolation and togetherness.
Idle Motion have created a highly emotional piece of theatre in Voyager, that in essence is a love story, conveyed through one person’s experience of love, loss, grief and her ultimate realisation of how love knits everything together – from the minutiae of life to the infinitesimal possibilities of thought and actions. Voyager is an engaging, thought provoking piece and left me wanting to know more about the characters.
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By Emily Jones
Tue 24 May – Sat 11 June
New Diorama Theatre, London NW1 3BF