Friday, October 1, 2010

Review: These Are The Isolate


By Mutation Theatre.

See this show and snap to it.

Another entry from Mutation Theatre, it's been my biggest surprise of the festival so far. Hunting around, it turns out that every review or mention of this piece has been hugely encouraging, but last night I was one of only seven or eight people in attendance and it deserves much better than that. It really is one helluva piece of work.

I won't write much about it now since much of what makes it worth seeing is the experience of discovering it for yourself. The writing is outstanding, with a kind of Schroedinger's Cat quality – you know the experiment where a cat in a box is both alive and dead at the same time until the moment the box is opened and uncertainty is reduced to reality? There are elements of uncertainty at play here, but unlike your standard narrative mystery which involves the withholding of vital facts, this one presents incommensurate realities simultaneously so the mind is forced to switch back and forth between possibilities that can't be reconciled. It's a bit like those pictures that are both a lamp and a pair of faces but the brain can't register both at once.

The performances initially came across as a bit mannered and over-blown but grew on me steadily – I'd say they're heightened rather than exaggerated. Certainly there are moments that really illustrate how the two actors have gone into great detail in their preparation, and it's a rare sight. Make this one a priority, folks. We'll talk more after.


Anonymous said...

Hey John,

This piece was written by Katy Warner and was co-devised by Katy Warner and Tim Wotherspoon.

Anonymous said...

Way to write a review that doesn't review man. I'm sure it's great, but I can't get over the grating fact that the title is so grammatically messed up. How great can the writing be when the writer fails to note that the noun should be in the plural. It's like saying 'These are my shoe'.

Katy Warner said...

‘These are the isolate’ is a line from ‘Elm’ by Sylvia Plath.
However you are correct it should be called ‘These are the isolated’… but it isn’t.

Patrick McCarthy said...

From Sylvia Plath's 'Elm':

Clouds pass and disperse.
Are those the faces of love, those pale irretrevables?
Is it for such I agitate my heart?

I am incapable of more knowledge.
What is this, this face
So murderous in its strangle of branches?

Its snaky acids kiss.
It petrifies the will. These are the isolate, slow faults
That kill, that kill, that kill.

Born Dancin' said...

Anonymous 2 - there are a couple of grammatical hiccups in your own comment. Unless you were expecting me to "review man", that is, which is a big ask. Could also be a question mark in there too.

I do applaud your vigilant crusade to stamp out formal experimentation in writing, however. It is the scourge brought about by these damned moderns.

Cameron Woodhead said...

We're in agreement here Mr. Bailey. Four and a half stars from me. Ugh. Stars.

Oh, and my blog is up.

It's a bit shaggy, but my review of These Are The Isolate is on there somewhere.

Tim Wotherspoon said...

... Those Was The Eloquence...