Reviewed by Donald Madgwick for The Croydon Advertiser
Past, present and grim future
The theme was limitless in scope, the time-scale geological; no less than 4,500 million years.
In “Circles Three”, theatre Workshop Coulsdon set out to show us, in a mere 70 minutes, the evolution to destruction of life on Earth.
The idea originated from Chris Argles, and the form in which it was expressed created some stunning effects and demanded total absorption from its audience. I use the past tense, but the good news is that this visionary production is being shown again at Coulsdon Youth and Social Centre, tomorrow (Saturday).
In ten periods, from primeval chaos to total desolation, a team of a dozen performers, under producer/choreographer Steve Swinscoe, mime no less than the world’s story, past, present and to come.
Brief linking comments are heard, and Ric White has assembled an impressive sound score in which are blended all kinds of aural experience from elemental sound-patterns to music itself.
The story is largely a familiar one. Out of Chaos came the first cells. Life emerged from water on to land. Hominids arose, leading to humankind, social organisation, religion and conflict. Scientific knowledge led to vast achievments but finally went out of control. Which is just about where our own generation stepped on to the moving staircase of life.
I found it all immensely impressive, sometimes overwhelming. The formless beginning rises to a terrifying crescendo as the earth is bombarded, a hissing lake exposed to the elements and, one feels, potential destruction.
Weird and wonderful are the primitive animals represented, and terrible the strife as Earth’s early inhabitants strive to conquer their environment and one another. I was reminded of a phrase from Joyce’s “Finnegan’s Wake”; “What clashes here of wills gen wonts, ostrygods gaggin fishygods.”
We are only too familiar with the substance of period seven: “The addition of weapons to enforce or defend beliefs.” And, as one who believes we have almost passed the point of no return, I found grimly apt the spectacle of computerised automata in the charge of a mad scientist.
There is really something for everyone in this remarkable panorama.
Technical Crew Details: