Go!, manipulate Festival 2014, Review

Rating (out of 5)
Show details
Polina Borisova Russia in co-production with Odradek and Pupella-Nogues company
David Claveau (technician), Polina Borisova
Polina Borisova
Running time

A gentle light shone on a life as it shrinks to smallness.
Four small tables with lamps, three chairs and a small amount of props including a roll of masking tape are all that’s needed by Russian artist Polina Borisova to create this sensitive piece of physical theatre.

She uses finely tuned observation to create the character of an old woman near the end of her life. Wearing an utterly transforming puppet face and adopting a jaunty old walk that holds the spirit of the woman’s past, Borisova moves silently from table to table in her home. She shows the weight of frugal tasks in her day as the woman examines medals, an old record, a set of pencils – each transporting her back to other times and other people like a series of Proust’s madeleines. The woman’s absorption in the minutiae of her past is beautifully and benevolently realised by Borisova. The piece is imbued with a quiet humour that moves, as well as inducing smiles. It does not wallow in melancholy but allows the woman to gain succour from her souvenirs.

The set’s starkness is brought to life through Borisova’s endless inventiveness with masking tape. Her dexterity and speed with this everyday tool makes people, animals, doors and windows to the outside world, where she no longer fully belongs, manifest through Borisova’s particular magic.

Only once does Borisova step out of her old lady persona. It is when she brilliantly morphs in to a parrot using just a draped cloth, clawed slippers and her own physicality as she flaps and struts around the stage with great comic clowning.

The accompanying music that includes the muscular sounds of a rousing Russian choir add the right atmosphere to the appropriate scenes and the message from the song Here Comes the Sun as she chooses to create her own fate by letting in its light is affirming.

This is an endearing evocation of the positive effect of good memories. A joy to see!

Go! has won multiple awards across the world and this performance was its UK première.

7 Feb, 7.30pm only

Age 10+