It’s work of the prolific and versatile choreographer Ben Wright, currently Artistic Director of bgroup, in collaboration with the writer and musician Stuart Warwick, and produced by the independent theatre studio China Plate.
Point of Echoes uses the well-established trope of a lighthouse as a setting denoting absolute isolation, loneliness and its power to befuddle the mind with echoes of an unresolved past.
Into the Echo Point lighthouse somewhere off the coast of England on winter solstice day of 1978 comes Eric Valentine, played by Thomas Heyes. He is an earnest young man, perhaps within the Asperger’s spectrum; and on voice over we hear a letter from his mother commending him to the care of the senior lighthouse keeper, Bernard Humphries, played by Dom Czapski. Humphries is clearly a man with a secret.
Point of Echoes Trailer - bgroup from China Plate on Vimeo.
From the very beginning there is a slightly disquieting atmosphere; but it’s the arrival of a woman Humphries rescues from a shipwreck during a violent storm at sea that brings matters to a head.
There is a lot of dialogue, with dance intervening at intervals to provide a sense of the characters’ interiority, their mental and emotional state. In the first short dance interlude soon after his arrival, Valentine seemingly unfolds from within his own apprehensive body and stretches out to take in his surroundings.
Later he engages with Humphries in a duet that illustrates the two men’s developing working relationship and their growing – but always limited – understanding of each other.
The dancing sections come into their own, however, in part two, when the rescued woman, herself emotionally distraught, unleashes a wave of memories in the two men. Now the movement becomes immensely expressive, harrowing even, unfolding from the very core of the dancers’s bodies.
As the woman, Marta Masiero is superb, her spasmodic dancing, oscillating between clinging to Humphries as a saviour and rejecting his delusions about her (no, she is not is dead wife) profoundly affecting; her connection with Valentine is gentler, that of two broken souls, but no, she’s not his long ago dead kid brother either.
Both Czapski and Heyes are good dancers and acquit themselves well of the extended voice acting required.
Point of Echoes is a small-scale, highly atmospheric piece and all its elements coalesce into a coherent whole; but it’s slight and perhaps best suited to community halls, its impact surely at its most intense in costal areas.
Age Guidance: 14+
|What||Review: Point of Echoes, The Place|
|Where||The Place, 17 Duke's Road, London, WC1H 9PY | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Euston (underground)|
20 Sep 18 – 22 Sep 18, Thu & Fri 19:30, Sat 15:00 and 19:00 Dur.: 1 hour 45 mins inc one interval
|Price||£17 (concessions £13)|
|Website||Click here to book via The Place|