Dark complexity from Vox Motus
The latest show from those masters of theatre’s dark arts, Vox Motus, focuses on Claire (Meline Danielewicz), a recently bereaved young woman. She struggles through her grief while caged in a ‘post-apocalyptic converted abattoir’ of a flat. Kettles, milk cartons and bottles of whisky are plucked from nowhere and have vanished before we even have time to believe in them.
Then, most alarmingly, a maroon parka hanging on the front door grows arms, then legs, and finally sprouts a man (Martin McCormick). This truth-taunting demon-castaway torments Claire, coming and going through a just-visible maw that spits him out then sucks him in again.
Malevolent and insistent, he bombards Claire with questions. Is grief really just guilt? Is it all about you? Can you honestly say you wouldn’t rather lose your mother than your lover given the choice?
Rarely has a prop been so elegantly and arrestingly used as the maroon parka with which Claire dances. It is through her relationship with the coat that the rich physical textures of the production become vivid and meaningful, alongside other moments of spare, impulsive movement, in which Claire expresses herself most articulately.
The show’s handling of its subject is more gothic than tragic. There is despair without bleakness and hope without glory. The overall effect is complex but ultimately consolatory.
Carnegie Hall, Dunfermline, Tue 13 Oct; Howden Park Centre, Livingstone, Fri 15 Oct; Palace Theatre, Kilmarnock, Sun 17 Oct; Byre Theatre, St Andrews, Wed 21 Oct. Seen at Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, Wed 16 Sep