Review: The Wedding. Gecko Theatre Company (touring) Nottingham Playhouse

Gecko’s The Wedding last visited Nottingham Playhouse in 2018 (likewise Derby Theatre) and this freshly cast production finds Nottingham Playhouse to be the first venue of their Autumn Tour.

Nottingham Playhouse 13-16 October 2022

Lighthouse Poole 20-21 October 2022

Mercury Theatre Colchester 4-5 November 2022

The most challenging and interesting aspects of a dance-theatre work is that without text marrying the work together to help our understanding of the nature of the work we are left to use our imagination and programme details to critically respond to the sights and sounds being shown. Not always a bad thing.  In a sense, this is the beauty of Gecko’s startling and often provocative dance-theatre work The Wedding; in that the recognisable is often juxtaposed and even thrown totally out of kilter, by abstract dance forms and there is a type of Spanish Latin based language that is deliberately spoken fast and at a low volume throughout along with smatterings of English. The Wedding is certainly a good example of actions speaking louder that words.

Regularly the snatches of actual emotionally charged language being used (a mix of Spanish and German) are burbling straight from the tower of Babel and Gecko’s technical sound deliberately confuses the ear by having sounds of invisible aural  echoes of infants crying that bounce around the auditorium both in the stalls and circle. Jonathan Everett’s soundscape is disconcerting and shockingly good. You keep looking around for the intrusive source but it is 100% illusive.

The talents of the international Gecko dance ensemble are awe-inspiring. The current devising performers are; Lucia Chocarro, Chris Evans, Madeleine Fairminer, Vanessa Guevara Flores, Katie Lusby, Ryen Perkins – Gangnes, Uroš Petronijević, Dan Watson and Kenny Wing Tao Ho. Additionally, the musicians and vocalists are Tom Allen, Sam Burgess, Ben Hales, Frank Moon, Dave Shulman, Jon Thomas and Temesgan Zeleke.

The Wedding like many large dance works has been developed and gestating over a long period of time. In The Wedding’s case, since 2015 and overseen by Gecko Theatre creator-artistic director Amit Lahav. The mightily impressive end result and super talented cast take the notion of us all being ‘wedded’ to society and bound by the many contracts of modern life, a notion (or eighty) which opens up the creative mind in a myriad of directions. The words wedded, separated and divorced have many social interpretations as well as the obvious. As does the middle ground haven of the text notion and literal actuality of sanctuary – a safe space to exist.

Gecko Artistic director Amit Lahav says ‘For me, The Wedding started as a battle between anger and love. Played out around the complex ideas of belonging, state, exclusion and a longing for community, all set with the excitement and ceremony of marriage.’  As the dance work progresses and plays with our minds, even through some dark humour, the notion of the characters on stage wanting to leave the constricts of their ‘married’ lives and gain ‘divorce’ unfolds and rebels. The theatrical-dance results are mind-blowingly good. The cleverly abrasive and selective lighting by Joe Hornsby, creative sound by Jonathan Everett and startling original music composed by Dave Price all aid to wed the final picture together. Rhys Jarman’s part domestically recognisable, part fabric of social nightmares design, is superlative.

Gecko, as an international dance-theatre company are strongly about inclusion and community and encouraging individuals to be open and creative. The strong connection to a City Of Sanctuary is vital to their work. Their emotion fuelled physicality in such shows as The Wedding is highly infective as it is delivered with such total passion by the dancers. So, however one, as an individual, chooses to interpret the on-stage action in any of their shows you are bound to be challenged and come away from the theatre with a whole new perception of the arts of presenting a performance. Book now for The Wedding at Nottingham Playhouse running until 16th October. It is one of the cultural highlights of their Autumn/Winter season.

Book now at Nottingham Playhouse

All images from 2018/19 production of The Wedding.

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