As things unravel, so do the individuals, and a multitude of issues become evident.
The UK-based company Gecko works with a three-year creative period per piece, allowing the work to breathe and flow. The Wedding has purpose, no argument. But its strengths are also its flaws.
Amit Lahav places the audience at the heart of the narrative. This is generous, but also leads to a bewildering place full of personal interpretation. It all comes down to effort, then: is one willing to immerse fully and define a more linear narrative to hang onto? Or does one sit back and simply say 'I don't get this, therefore I don't care!’ I did the former...others did the latter.
It's been suggested there are only 7 stories to be told; and faced with the oppressed individual and the nanny state of Gecko’s The Wedding I found myself thinking, this doesn't feel new.
Lahav has a gift for communication, though. He has great taste in performers, each one of his nine-strong ensemble demonstrating the highest level of commitment to the work. He is an original choreographer, using space (or lack thereof) ingeniously – and he seems never to repeat a movement.
Israeli-born Lahav often plays with historical/cultural motifs: the hypnotic in and out of ancient dance circles, the suggestion of Jewish celebratory movement and many other folk styles. It's earthy and watchable, and brilliantly supported by his melodic, percussive and eclectic music choices – the original score was composed by Dave Price.
Naturally, some scenes are stronger than others. One depicts the complexities of modern day relationships. A young couple are surrounded by floating daily objects, held aloft on sticks by fellow cast members. With intelligent lighting (Joe Hornsby) the supporting cast can barely be seen, and the loss of gravity and contact takes the choreographed sequence into the realm of timelessness.
Another powerful moment was built around a group of four homeless characters; good, honest people who found themselves in a constant battle with their sense of belonging. Lahav showed the interplay of fragility and panic with a brilliant scene focusing on human contact and relentless frenzied running that went nowhere.
The whole 80 minutes of the show was punctuated by a sense of lost identity. It showed itself in many different ways – physical collapse and mutual understanding, which culminated in a revolution when enough of the sufferers said 'no more.' The focus of their anger was quite the sight.
A faceless fat cat on stilts gorged on a buffet provided by tax payers. As he left the table to face the public wrath I kept thinking of Westminster and how I'd love to see some of its denizens on stilts – an image I'll keep long after the performance.
And I think aspects of the show will stay with many others for a while to come also. Gecko’s The Wedding was received rapturously...suggesting that there were more in the audience who bothered to engage than those found it all too complex to bother with.
|What||LIMF2019, Gecko, The Wedding Review|
|Where||Barbican Theatre, Barbican Centre, Silk Street, London, E2CY 8DS | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Barbican (underground)|
24 Jan 19 – 26 Jan 19, 19:45 Sat mat 14:30 Dur.: 1 hour 20 mins no interval
|Price||£16-£28 (+booking fee)|
|Website||Click here to book via the Barbican|