Theatre in Wales

Theatre, dance and performance reviews

A classy production throughout!

Into the Light

Hijinx and Teatro La Ribalta , A Hijinx and Teatro La Ribalta , February-15-19
Into the Light by  Hijinx and Teatro La Ribalta Wow, is the 1st word that comes to mind after seeing the latest production from Hijinx Theatre. In collaboration with Teatro La Ribalta and Frantic Assembly they have progressed from Christmas shows ( we loved "Hansel,Gedeon and the Grimm's Wood" in December), comedies ("The Flop" was great fun last summer) to a dance piece " Into The Light".

Using the big stage at Sherman Theatre the show starts in complete darkness other than hollow rectangular objects lit at each side. From nowhere the faces and bodies of the performers appear, hover then vanish whilst loud music reverberates through the auditorium. This is a mesmerising beginning to any show. Gradually the artistes appear fully formed with fragmented pre-recorded dialogue about what being on stage means to them. Again, this is a simple idea transformed into theatrical magic in the innovative hands of joint directors Scott Graham and Krista Vuori.

Teatro la Ribalta are an Italian based company featuring neurodivergent and learning disabled perfomers and are therefore a great match for Hijinx theatre. Featuring performers from Wales, Italy and Spain this is a truly inclusive performance which grabs the audience's attention from the opening second and exerts an iron hand until a beautifully judged humorous ending, a little over an hour later.

"Into The Light" is a rare event in which all the seperate parts merge together to create a greater whole. We were particularly impressed by the music ( if anyone wishes to send me a link to the instrumental music I would be very grateful). Oddly, it also sent me delving into my vinyl collection to play the "Talking Heads" track and even "Mud"s cover of "End Of The World".

This is a classy production throughout which means it can be judged on top level criteria. So, I will raise one criticism about a lack of narrative. The individual stories were interesting and poignant but personally I would have preferred a more specific storyline. This may sound hyper-critical but it is only because the show was so excellent it was within touching distance of being one of the greatest shows I have ever seen and this is my 5th decade of theatre going.

I have been a big fan of Hijinx Theatre for many years but "Into the Light" catapults them into the highest level of current performing companies. I don't know what their future plans are but this has this the feel of a big hit at the Edinburgh festival. In the meantime I can't encourage you enough to catch this show on its current tour:

http://www.hijinx.org.uk/uploads/ITL_Tour_dates_01_19.pdf

Reviewed by: David Cox

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