Reviews: In the Beginning was the End

Written for The Stage

With a title that artfully riffs off a verse from the apocalyptic Book of Revelations, it’s no surprise that In the Beginning was the End is rather doom-laden. But in a journey that uses the stunning archways, underground corridors and heavenly staircases of Somerset House to full effect, it is also full of imagery that touches the gods.

We are attending the open day of Fusion, a global company using technology to fill our increasingly empty lives. As we travel through rooms it’s all going swimmingly until we see people putting on air tanks and water starts rising.

Inspired by Leonardo Da Vinci, this is a space where science meets God and within the religious iconography lacing through this piece is the delicate question of “whether we are in a world of development or a world of collapse?” Are we engineering our own doom? Gradually it becomes clear that the question mark is disingenuous because Dreamthinkspeak are sure that we are.

In the Beginning was the End is never as ambiguous as its title suggests. Rather its politics are straightforward and commonplace. For all its dizzying beauty, this is a rather lightweight exploration of our materialistic descent into modern spiritual collapse – and we’ve heard that sermon before. But if you’re new to the altar of site-specific theatre this astonishing installation is a good place to start.

Runs until 30th March. For more information go here.

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