Consistent surprising with a seemingly limitless imagination, Basil Twist is one of the most sought-after collaborators in theatre, having worked with London’s Royal Ballet and Paris’ Comedie Francaise, as well as in his native USA, and he was part of the creative team on Kate Bush’s much-lauded Before the Dawn 2014 tour. But his work has long been able to stand alone, captivating unsuspecting audiences with the elegance of his inanimate cast.
Japanese dogugaeshi originated as set design before becoming a show art form in itself: layers of painted screens move and switch to create strange illusions of perspective. Twist employs over 100 hand-painted screens to create a ‘visual journey’ across oceans and over wide, endless bridges. Curtains open onto curtained stages hiding curtained stages in Russian doll-like layers. An elegantly moustachioed white fox puppet provides sly humour.
Shedding none of the beauty of tradition, Twist remains contemporary: electronic sound design by Greg Duffin is background to the onstage musical performance by musician Yumiko Tanaka who plays the shamisen, a three stringed, long necked instrument that is the traditional accompaniment to Japanese puppet theatre. And projections by the video artist Peter Flaherty explore Dogugaeshi’s history.
The Barbican suggests Dogugaeshi is for age 10+ - it might be puppetry, but this is no Punch and Judy show. Expect a gentle, meditative performance that enjoys its own craft, promising a beautiful evening’s abstraction.
|What||Basil Twist - Dogugaeshi, Barbican Pit|
|Where||Barbican Centre, Silk Street, London, EC2Y 8DS | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Barbican (underground)|
28 Jan 15 – 30 Jan 15, 1 hour, no interval
|Website||Click here to book via the Barbican|