Staff Review: Charge

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Motionhouse premiered Charge, electrifying dance-circus, at Warwick Arts Centre on 4th October.

Charge is the ultimate fusion between art and science and provides an exhilarating demonstration of how electrical currents connect us physically and emotionally to ourselves, each other and matter around us. Contemporary acrobatics allows idiosyncratic movement which interacts seamlessly with incredible multimedia projection on a cleverly designed set, once again performing with a theatrical language mixing circus and dance. Charge evolves with reference to familiarity as we recognise memories, functions and relationships through creative choreography and effective sound and lighting.

Early on, the flexed motifs encapsulate how electrical currents activate muscle contraction in reference to Galvani’s experiments with frogs while the urban scenes reflect the repetition, relentlessness and fatigue of the rat race, resonating with most in the audience. There is a distinct shift in the energy on stage with impressive nightscape time lapse vividly projected on set while humans function in isolation with the exception of incidental interactions with others.

Organ functions of the heart, brain and reproductive systems use dancers, set and projection for an immersive piece of theatre, touching on new-born bonds, relationships, the aging process and dementia. A power cut in the urban scene reflects the internal process of dementia when memories can no longer be accessed and parts of the brain fall dark and silent. Fertilisation of an egg ignites the spark that carries energy through a new body and we see how energy is not created or destroyed but is a continuum; as we watch the early multiplication of cells, the development of chromosomes and the chemistry of attachment we delve in to the nervous system and the electrical impulses within us all.

Interaction between physical form, lighting, projection, set and sound create effective illusions when referring to brain function. A mesmerising collaboration draws the audience in to what their eyes are seeing and their brains are processing and the inconsistencies between the two.

Appealing to a variety of ages, it was great to hear opinions from audience members with varying understandings of the piece, appreciating the impressive technical expertise of such an ambitious collaboration on a variety of levels. Accessible and thought provoking, this piece is the third of a trilogy, following on from Broken and Scattered. Heavily inspired by Frances Ashcroft’s book The Spark of Life, Artistic Director Kevin Finnan MBE wanted to create a piece that showed the human body as an electrical system and make the audience think about the role energy plays in our lives.

It reminds us that although we are human beings, we are ultimately electrical beings.

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