L I M B O, VAULT Festival

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by Evangeline Cullingworth

Six young actors, maybe friends or maybe strangers, are stuck. They greet us when we enter and they are kind, but they do look a bit lost. They take turns to share important memories from their childhood, which sometimes fall out as fairytales or pop songs. Fragments of innocent childhoods which have slipped through fingers.

The movement work is extraordinary, perfectly capturing the intensity of young adult frustrations, fears and desires. Outstretched limbs with grabbing hands and desperate expressions as the company slide past each other in the shadowy space. When music fades into the space, and they pick it up under their breath and let it fall out into joyful dance. These moments reveal the strength of Sara Carinhas’ ensemble, who are especially connected and perform best in these choral moments.

There are some truly beautiful moments in L I M B O, and the relationships between the cast leaves a lasting impression. One monologue is translated from French to English, and it’s remarkable to see the act of translation brought to life, sharing the negotiations and emotions in front of an audience. However, the traverse staging restricts the audience’s view of the movement, and the repetitive structure becomes predictable and difficult to remain immersed in. Relationships and political resonances are merely hinted at, leaving our responses lingering, to be mulled over afterwards. It’s effective, but doesn’t seem to land the punch they’re throwing. In terms of narrative, this feels like a sequel or prequel to some sprawling novel. Characters are left free-falling, sorely missing a thread to pull them along.

Sara Carinhas has a masterful skill as a director, although her vision and ensemble work here is ultimately let down by the content of the piece. This is beautiful experimental work from a very exciting international ensemble, working through the best ways to share their stories.

L I M B O runs through 26 February.

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