Written for Whats On Stage 23/01/10.
The Forecast is a darling little ditty of a show that, whilst it may not live up to Marvin and The Cats’ lofty aspirations of dealing with climate change, certainly reaches fabulous heights of charming clowning and daring physical prowess.
Set against a swirling background of Turner-esque green, three moving mannequins take us through the delights of life aboard the cruise ship ‘The Power of The Seas’ in a massive rush of consumerist ecstasy. But amongst the cheesy grins and mind boggling luxuries a darker reality rears its ugly head as these characters are plunged literally out of their depth: a wild storm wrecks their moving pleasure dome and leaves them adrift on a much ‘cosier’ wooden raft, otherwise known as about eight planks of wood.
It is an intense hour that follows as an impressive sense of mental disintegration radiates through these fluid performers and turns their desperation into a tangible nightmare for those watching. At points they seem so wretched that one feels almost voyeuristic as they backtrack their way from sophisticated human beings to primates with cannibalistic intentions. But it’s not all darkness; the whole thing is played out with enjoyable comic élan from this Jacques Lecoq trained company, making it a strangely jolly experience.
Thom Monckton, Tamsin Clarke and Jay Miller (See News, 6 Aug 2009) are grotesque, sweet, sexual, frenzied, frenetic and manic. They deftly deliver complexly cartoonish performances that overflow with a childish exuberance contained within obvious heightened physical control. Moreover, as individualistic as each of these charming turns is, they are brilliantly attuned throughout. Whether it is the entwining of creepy hands and bodies, intricate balancing sequences or moments of synchronisation that echo the shifts and turns of shoals of fish, Sasha Milavic Davies has choreographed their plight with a heart warming humanity mingled with an impressive level of mimetic skill.
The Forecast is not a show on climate change and I think all the better for it; instead it is a piece that focuses with artistry and empathy on three normal human beings. In begging the question of what would happen to us if everything was stripped away, it takes its audience to dark places that somehow resonate for long after the end of this heartfelt performance. Overarching political message or not, The Forecast is definitely a must see.
The Forecast runs until 7th February 2010.