Ticketmaster Summer in Stages

Hide and Seek

Devised by Shift Theatre
Blue Elephant Theatre
(2008)

Publicity image

A world that resembles a rubbish tip, overgrown insects, humans dressing in recycled plastic bags scavenging for food of any kind. This is the world we can look forward to according to Shift Theatre in their devised production, Hide and Seek.

The image of a dystopian future is a hardly an original or unique glimpse of what is in store but probably a fairly realistic scenario if we carry on the way we are. However this is for me where the message of this production not only began but also ended.

Hide and Seek is essentially a movement piece. The ensemble of four played with ideas of the primitive and base nature of mankind, the instinct for survival and the repercussions of the environmental destruction of the earth.

These were the themes but what the piece lacked was any sense of a narrative thread. The physical movement of the piece sacrificed the plot as scenes were strung together exploring various different styles of movement. There were moments which worked well. However that is all they were: moments. There was no commitment to stick with one or even two styles. Instead it seemed as if various styles had been experimented with and all of them made the final cut. Once again my concern at having the director also perform in the devised piece was highlighted through the lack of consistency and fluidity.

I am not exactly sure what the message of Hide and Seek was, other than we will all end up victims of the rubbish we have created. But what else? I think I understand what they were trying to say but it needed to be taken to another level.

I enjoyed the dynamic energy between Dominic Leeder and Tal Jakubowiczova, although it was not always clear what they were doing. However the scenes involving David Ford as the old bag lady fell flat as they simply meandered along with seamlessly little point. Adriana Lebron's bird like performance and constant startled expression was endearing but I struggled to understand the concept behind her role and in retrospect I am still unsure. Was she the soul of the old woman, a sort of consciousness for the whole group or an ideal of something pure and innocent from a time long forgotten? I am sure that any interpretation would work but when theatre such as this clearly has an agenda it is crucial that the message not be lost, otherwise it merely becomes a string of scenes.

So, it begs the question, can theatre bring about change? One would hope that yes: by drawing attention to the consequences of our actions today, hopefully that will have some bearing on how we act tomorrow. But for this to happen you must believe in that possibility and ultimately Hide and Seek lacked any drama, for want of a better word. It didn't engage me and what could have been a fairly climactic ending left me thinking, so what? Basically the moral of the story is think about the present a little less and the future a little more, but you probably already knew that.

Until 17th May

Reviewer: Rachel Sheridan