Thursday, 22 January 2015

Playful and Experimental

Invisible City
Chapter Arts Centre
21st January 2015

Invisible City explores the life changing move from a small town to the big city. A wonderfully original one-woman-show full of humour and inventiveness.

Lowri Jenkins, as writer and performer, gave her very all to embodying Marie – a young lady who has moved away from home to a confusing and surreal cityscape. In the imagined megacity Marie must deal with loneliness, job interviews and the seemingly-conscious self-service tills whilst constantly reassuring her mother that she is ok.

Lowri Jenkins as Marie

These frequent phone calls with her mother are played with an honesty everyone can relate to. Although we only hear Marie’s side of the conversation it’s clear to see the love between the two – despite Marie’s constant efforts to say goodbye and hang up.

The relationships with offstage people are often touching and are navigated in innovative and playful ways. In her pursuit of love, Marie even develops a surreal relationship with an exotic-accented lemon. Jenkins delivers just the right about of humour to draw proper belly laughs from the audience.

Marie and her unusual lover

A true collaboration between artists Invisible City brought together a great group of people to contribute to the production. Jennifer Fletcher, director and choreographer, clearly worked very closely with Jenkins to create the often subtle but very effective movement that gave the production its stylised feel. Mat Martin’s original score was perfectly suited to the piece, it would have been nice to hear more of it, rather than the overused voiceovers.

The concept was intriguing but it felt like there was still more work to be done before presenting this production to a paying audience. The main themes/scenes had been fully explored to get every bit of potential from them – to the point that they could have been edited down a bit. The overly simple set and poorly conceived lighting also distracted from the beautifully delivered performance.

Playful, experimental and uplifting – Invisible City is an enjoyable production that falls just short of being great.