anomie ***

Zoo Southside, 7 – 31 August 2009

Reviewed for the British Theatre Guide

You can rely on Precarious to deliver a technical spectacle. Prerecorded and rotoscoped footage of the six performers is as crucial to the action as the performers themselves, and the two often seamlessly combine, with the performers partially hidden behind flatscreen TVs that display their obscured limbs or heads like a technicolour X-ray. Synchronising between live and prerecorded movement requires the cast to be masters of timing, and so unison dance sequences are flawless, performed as if by afterimages of the same body.

But unlike Precarious’ masterpiece The Factory, anomie – which follows six social misfits living in the same apartment building – lacks strong thematic justification for its technical wizardry, so while the integration of screen and performer is an undeniable triumph of pinpoint timing and rehearsal, it can also feel like a gimmick, style divorced from content. The company’s other speciality, dance and physical theatre, is anomie’s strong point, remaining fresh and engaging throughout while also building clear (if not always subtle) characterisation, and making inventive use of mattresses as crashmats, scenery and allegory; though there are too few of the haunting tableaux that made The Factory so memorable.

Written by Precarious

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