Directed by Dan Shorten and Karla Shacklock
Precarious Physical Theatre
Unity Theatre (17th November 2009)

Reviewed by Mari Jones

Anomie: a term meaning a personal state of isolation and anxiety that comes from a lack of social control.

Anomie is also the title of a play from the Precarious Physical Theatre and Multimedia Company currently touring the UK, a production that follows the lives of six individuals living in an unnamed city.

Straight away we are told by a voiceover that there isn’t really a plot or story, because in the end we will all come away with our own thoughts and interpretations of it. Immediately this sets us up for something a little bit different than what you would normally expect from a play…

This brings us to what makes Anomie so unique. There is very little dialogue used – just enough to establish a basic story for each character. Instead, dance and physical movements are used to show these people trying to live in and survive the big city.

The sets are incredible, looking more like an art installation than a play – TVs are used which play footage of the actors that they merge into, creating a stunning effect. The actors also dance with mattresses, climb on the rigging of the stage and swing from ropes in time with the mesmerizing music.

Were it not for the warning at the start of Anomie, plenty of people may leave this production feeling disappointed. But the dances and physical performances help to enhance a story about people in the city, whether they are feeling lonely, lost, bored or trapped and makes for a thoroughly entertaining piece of physical theatre.

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