Touring – reviewed at Bristol Old Vic
Reviewer: Francesca Parker
Gecko’s seventh touring production, The Wedding, is an artistic exploration of a number of sociopolitical issues still present in our world today.
Primarily used to illustrate this is the commonplace idea of matrimony. This widely celebrated occasion has been, in this instance, deliberately fashioned to demonstrate that we are instead wedded to society and have a contractual obligation to fulfill our duties.
By following the lives of four individuals we are immersed in a world where, rather unusually, even without the use of dialogue, we understand that everything is exactly as it seems; we have the power to make a significant change.
In its production and development, Amit Lahav has diligently researched the various rituals and practices of this ceremony worldwide. Weaving his knowledge seamlessly into the production, through the medium of dance and world music, he evokes a sense of unity in the audience.
In a fractured world, where unconsciously, we spend too little time considering the individual struggles other people face, for 85 minutes, due to the power of his creation, we are acutely aware of our blindness.
Lahav’s world depicts that happiness and beauty are not found by the acquisition of wealth and control, rather the sharing of love and companionship.
Props are carefully selected and are highly effective in the communication of Lahav’s social commentary. Appliance white, iconic symbols of the mundane 9-to-5 slog circle the dancers in their attempt to break free from the shackles of responsibility.
Briefcases, mobile phones, confined spaces and dimly lit desks become a thing loathed and inherently rejected. Similarly, the monochrome and drab clothing worn by the office workers, helps to reiterate the dulling effects monotony can have on a bright mind.
The Wedding’s lighting and set is deliberately dark, littered with shadow and loaded with meaning. Dramatic differences between light and shade highlights a symbolic, and stark, division in society. However, the glow of the rising sun, in the penultimate moments of the performance, demonstrates that, although a dystopian future has been realised on this stage, there remains, for the audience, the hope of a new dawn. An unveiling of lights and the removal of all signs of contractual obligation, the wedding dresses and briefcases, combined with an uplifting, rhythmical ensemble is the perfect finale.
Its beauty lies not only with the power of its expressive movement, but also within the incredible soundtrack and the impressive use of imagination, when creating the set. It dwells in the calibre of the performers, their innate ability to convey Lahav’s message and their unity.
This production is a spectacle that should not, under any circumstances, be missed.