REVIEW: THE KEEPERS
A devised work by Veronica Brady and Julia Croft
Bats Theatre, until September 29
It is not often that the styles of abstract and existentialist theatre are found in performance pieces that are essentially physical theatre with few words spoken.
But Thread Theatre Company's show The Keepers is just that, and intriguingly so.
Concerning the isolation of living in a lighthouse, the nautical theme of the piece is well established from the outset, with wooden cabin trunks on the set and a large thick anchor rope drawn laboriously around the set in the opening moments by Luna, played by musician Claire Cowan, who also provides the excellent soundscape.
Light rotating around her head, Margaret (Veronica Brady), effectively establishes the lighthouse setting.
Through the physical nature of her performance we also know she is alone and isolated. Then her world is turned upside down by the arrival of a small boat with Nina (Julia Croft) on board.
Margaret's annoyance of Nina is wonderfully illustrated during a meal when she puts a line of salt on Nina's tray, indicating that it is not to be crossed. Then, as suddenly as she arrived, Nina leaves, on a passing ocean liner.
In between the arrival and the departure, Margaret and Nina's efforts at co-existence are fraught.
It is obvious that Margaret is distraught at Nina's departure but what transpired between them for her to be in this state was by no means established.
As a piece of physical theatre it was well-performed, the two actors in tune with each other as a team, each bringing lots of energy to their parts and creating many intriguing images. But like many devised works, the middle section lost focus and became disjointed, and while theatre is sometimes at its best when it provokes with unanswered questions, in this piece there are just too many unanswered questions to make the piece wholly satisfying.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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