Late Night Review @ The Barbican Pit (LIFT 2016) Review

Six dancers lost in a continuous cycle of choreography, holding on to past stories and times since vanished. Late Night by the Blitz Theatre Group, in association with LIFT 2016, is an abstract piece delivered in the Greek language set in a dark wasteland of furniture and rubble.

Late Night

Although attempting to capture the distant and somewhat dismal atmosphere of the outside world the piece on a whole leaves one feeling confused and rather empty from beginning to end. The sullen performers incorporate ballroom dance within the piece in a unique manner, focusing less on technique and meaning, and purely on movement patterns around the space. The dance is somewhat ‘floppy’ and lacking in energy, different to that of the comedy based section of the production that sees each individual attempt to impress members of the audience through mediocre magic tricks, and of course failing to do so.

Slapstick humour, ranging from fake illusions to balancing on chairs, bring interest to a rather boring opening to the show. Unusual in its incorporation of spoken text each actor takes to a forwardly placed mic to divulge personal or historical information about themselves, others or specific events in their lifetime. Now overall this is the most confusing for all in the theatre as the speech is scattered and has no through line, almost like picking names from a hat. It is obvious these words have meaning to the slow and heavy dance they are conducting on set yet all these ideas are not conveyed well enough to allow one to fully immerse themselves in the actual context of the piece.

A moment I do find to be intriguing however is the use of music to drive the piece onwards, and is possibly the only constant device that is used effectively throughout. The classical rhythms and harmonious tones lift the intensity of the piece and make you care more as a viewer at what the performers are pursuing on set. A shame they don’t match this level of power in their own work and decide to rely too heavily on the music to carry the piece along.

The whole affair is without doubt a conundrum of styles, ideas and concepts that don’t quite match and leave the piece seeming a little random as a result. Abstract to the point of trying to be clever and not quite succeeding in its attempts to do so. You leave the theatre as you enter, curious, open minded and waiting to feel the impact of a great performance, a performance that sadly never comes to be.

Review written by Luke Redhead.

Late Night was shown at the Barbican Pit from Wednesday 15th June until Saturday 18th June as part of this year’s LIFT Festival. To find out more about current productions at the festival, visit here…

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