Review: Hijinx Theatre - Into The Light, Sherman Theatre, Cardiff
In the 21st century the human inclination to interact, connect and be recognised is greater than ever before. Hijinx Theatre’s latest production, Into the Light demonstrates how the glow of mobile phones invites us to be cherished, appreciated and loved and how stepping out on to a stage offers something similar.
Directed by Frantic Assembly’s Scott Graham & Krista Vuori, Into The Light ponders the questions that when the performers emerge from the darkness and into the light, are they illuminated or are they exposed? Do we dare step into the light? Or are we merely moths to its flame?
Performed by an energetic international cast with and without learning disabilities, I found myself mesmerised with Into The Light’s choreography from the offset. The performers, Rocco Ventura, Raul Marquez, Morgan Thomas, Matteo Celiento, Marega Palser, Justin Melluish, Hellioot Baeza, Laura Tilley and Andrew Tadd blend, merge and intermingle in and out of the light with high energy dance moves or still life poses keeping the production moving along and most importantly focused.
Andy Purves Lighting design is simple but effective, featuring up to three neon doorway sized frames standing out from an engulfing darkness. What the frames are is open to interpretation, they could be doorways leading on to the stage or an alternate existence, mirrors reflecting a fellow performers actions or that of a mobile phone housing images of people’s body parts. All are done to fabulous effect throughout the proceedings as one frame takes on a life of morphing and merging its requirements as the performers expertly unfold their choreography at first within the limits of the frame by revealing limbs or group poses before breaking free onto the stage.
Interviews with the performers and music from acts as diverse as The Foo Fighters and Mama Cass Elliott make up a strong sound-scaping mix from Ian Barnard which contribute to the memorable choreography.
Although Into The Light ponders some serious questions about how we engage with fame and attention on varying levels, the production also blends some lovely comic moments and hints at the darker lonelier aspects of fame. Among the many moments I enjoyed were Laura Tilley’s Hollywood stylised fame aspirations, a two-hand selfie dance involving two performers fight for the attention of a mobile phone and the ensemble drawn to a square space of light like moths to a flame.
An accessible dance production, Into The Light, raises questions as to how we all think we need to be seen but ultimately how been ourselves is the most important star quality of all. Don’t miss this magical Hijinx production as it embarks on its UK tour!
For tour details visit www.hijinx.org.uk/into-the-light/