Friday, 14 March 2003

Ghosts Women's Circus , March 14, 2003

Ghosts  Women's Circus  Shed 14 Victoria Dock, March 14 to April, 2003
Reviewer: Kate Herbert

The Women's Circus' latest production, Ghosts, is directed by Andrea Lemon, the new Artistic Director of the company.  

It is, to some extent, a departure in style from previous shows. There are fewer circus stunts and more movement based chorus scenes. There is no narrative but rather a series of loosely connected vignettes that reflect upon the plight of female refugees.

With about forty performers, this is a huge task and the project succeeds in part. The series of metaphorical episodes represents moments of arrival, escape, rioting, hunger and death. The problem is that the metaphors are not clearly defined. It is often unclear what is the intention or meaning of a scene.

The performance is staged on a stark and evocative set designed by Trina Parker. . Cyclone wire fencing cages the women inside the cavernous space. Rough camp beds line the fences in rigid rows. Huge shipping containers provide the backdrop. The shipping metaphor links these boat refugees to cargo.

One very successful element of the show is the music composed and directed by Andrea  rieniets (OK lower case) Her soundscape and songs are compelling and atmospheric. Lighting design by Gina Gascoigne  provides some dramatic as well as delicate imagery.

Ghosts reflects, through physical imagery, upon those who suffer in our refugee camps. The through line of the show is not clear. However, the performance experience is obviously strong for community of mostly non-professional performers.

The women's training under trainer Andrea Ousley  is evident in the work. They train in acrobatics, acrobalance , dance and for some, shadow puppetry. There is work on the trapeze, cloud swing, the cloth rope called the tissue amongst other work.

It is a delight to see their joy in the work even when there are some chinks in the theatrical elements of the show.

By Kate Herbert

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