Physical theatre artist Phil Hardie’s re-telling of the Frankenstein story, Welcome My Son, is a darkly atmospheric, hugely accomplished and physically impressive work.
Exploring issues of neglect and how, in the absence of love, a human will often turn to hate as the only alternative, Hardie creates a fully realised Creature and beautifully demonstrates the pain of existing in a world “of riches and beauty” after abandonment by his creator.
Hardie plays both creature and creator and among his astonishing feats of physical skill on the Chinese pole, scaffolded set and in the shadow box, he injects sequences of dialogue into the work, bringing a new and welcome dimension to physical theatre.
Hardie makes this complex discipline look effortless and displays finely measured acting skills that create a mesmerising and affecting performance.
Welcome My Son can still be seen at the following venues this October:
Sita Pieraccini’s work Make a HOO is billed as: “a play set in the tropical hills and the Sri Lankan plains which witness a young woman’s journey as she strives to reconnect with her identity and the world she lives in”; save for some pre-recorded sounds from the Sri Lankan forest, this rambling mish-mash does nothing to either evoke a sense of place or stimulate discussion or the emotions.
Several years ago, I saw a production about the ancient myth of the Phoenician princess Europa, a show I thought was the worst thing I have had the misfortune to endure, however, Make A HOO surpasses even that in awfulness. It is one of those works that makes you question the very reason for its existence, other than the self-indulgence of the creator.
Comprising something akin to visual and aural torture, there is no dialogue, Pieraccini performs to a pre-recorded soundtrack of natural and industrial noise, and her movement skills are not particularly well developed. There is little artistry or originality to the choreography. It captivates neither the eyes nor ears.
The themes this professes to address: “connectedness/disconnected-ness with nature”, need to be explored and discussed, however this laboured and poorly executed work does nothing to further the conversation. At one point there are the sounds of wild forest animals, one can’t help wish that the creatures of the night would eat her up and be done with it.
The kind of show that makes you lose all faith in the visual arts.