Light at Battersea Arts Centre
Theatre Ad Infinitum brings dystopian thriller Light to Battersea Arts Centre, fresh from its sold-out run at the Barbican last year and its successful stint at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. The production is an assault to the senses, consisting of a pulsating soundscape and LED lights illuminating the wordless production. Though the performance is visually impactful in the Council Chamber of BAC, it seems to still belong to a Fringe audience.
Set in a dystopian future where technology is power, the population has been fitted with implants that allow their thoughts to be shared and read: “Connected in our thoughts, connected in our love, connected in our security,” the slogan reads. Agent Dearden is sent on a mission to capture the leader of a rebellion, which forces him to look to his past. The themes are reminiscent of an Orwellian drama, though more deeply inspired by the current stories of illegal government surveillance of civilians.
The piece is charged with sci-fi adventure and dynamic visuals, all set to a dreamlike sequence in otherwise complete darkness. The story is engaging, if unpredictable, with the war-torn love story and family conflict. Visually, it presents some very interesting silhouettes, particularly with the shifting bar scene, but ultimately the lighting is stilted and gimmicky. Understandably, the production’s major trope is its use of light to illuminate the story, but the technique achieves high impact with low production value.
Though impressive timing in the design and physicality of the production is laudable, it creates an imprisoning aesthetic for the actors and hints at the underdeveloped set surrounding them. The only other object on stage is a screen offering surtitles like a silent movie, which lends itself to the actors’ puppet-like appearance. Light offers some intriguing and disturbing effects in the flashing madness, as well as moments of real suspense. However, the overall experience is quite exhausting and leaves more than a little to be desired.
Light is on at Battersea Arts Centre from 1st until 13th February 2016, for further information or to book visit here.