Zoo Southside is hosting a series of performances from Nordic countries and jolly impressive they are too. Raiders of the Grey Gold is a physical theatre group, broadly mimetic and with elements of clowning but all conveying a strong and zany narrative that is both funny and touching.
A well worn settee sits marooned centre stage with a telly flickering in the corner along with two old, dressing-gowned codgers who are sitting in remote silence watching the box. The care-home scenario has never been so amusing.
These old boys may be shuffling around, pushing their zimmer frames with difficulty and they might even be struggling to get off their seats to change channels but lurking beneath their immobility lies a strength, both physically and emotionally. There is life in the old dog yet! Determined not to be out done each engages in a power struggle over the TV. They tumble and flip, roll and spring towards each other, towards the telly into their chairs and even into the arms of their carer – funny stuff, especially when the pace picks up.
Raiders of the Grey Gold is a multimedia production. There are changing dramatic lighting states and special effects with lamps and bulbs and these are all worked into the physical action of the piece. When three pairs of hands move in synchronisation, wrapping themselves around a body with amazing dexterity in the glooming of the flickering light bulb, the effect is quite startling and helps to build a dark and somber atmosphere. A soundscape supports the changing atmospheres, the flickering screen and the white noise it emits is penetrating, or the lonesome vocals of a drifting song combined with the haunting sound of the squeeze-box all serve to give the piece a haunting sense of narrative – will they soon be called? Have we old men watching and snatching memories of times gone by or are they simply abandoned to old age forced to wait their turn?
Or perhaps we are watching the resistance to decay the last throws (sometimes quite literally) of youthful energy? These men are not going ‘gently into that dark night’.
We have bursts of activity with each performer rolling or jumping or entwining themselves around the nearest object and all are seeking to out do the other, as they seem to defy doctor’s orders. Moments of stillness creates absorbing contrast, when a pulse is taken, a heart beat stops and the ongoing musical soundscape sweetly blasts out heavenly choral music – maybe there is not long to go for our protagonists and soon they will be called from above? Not before they have cleverly entertained us though! Classic comic moments are carried off with great skill and dexterity, all wrapped up in a compelling visual experience as the old dogs see themselves as young pups even yet.
This talented company glow in the dark, vibrant with talent and with their creative performances; Jannik Ekar and Kristoffer Louis Andrup Padersen were clearly an inspired duo.
It is a fun piece with a physicality that amuses and a narrative that engages as we witness the muscular acrobatic antics of the old, still flickering like the lights above them, hoping to burn bright for another moment.
4th – 10th August
Zoo Southside @ 7pm.