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Brighton Festival 2010

the moment I saw you I knew I could love you


Venue: The Basement


Low Down

the moment I saw you I knew I could love you is a performance by Leslie Hill and Helen Paris made in collaboration with film-maker Andrew Kötting, composer and sound designer Graeme Miller and performers Claudia Barton and Joseph Young. The piece is about ‘gut feelings’; fight, flight and freeze reactions; impulse, love and undefended moments.


‘Set in the belly of a whale’ Curious’ The moment I saw you I knew I could love you promised to be one of the less conventional audience experiences in the Brighton Festival programme and it definitely did not disappoint on this front. Whilst the whale belly was an imaginative conceit, but as the audience were welcomed into the Basement and asked we were asked to take our seats in hexagonal life rafts. Gloomy orange lighting and projection onto tattered material coupled with the exposed concrete of the space created a faintly post-apocalyptic atmosphere.

Early in the performance it was announced by performer Leslie Hill that the The moment I saw you… was about the body’s ‘fight, freeze of flee’ reflexes and she proceeded to briefly explain the physiological causes behind these phenomena. Yet quickly the piece made the segue-way into hazy spoken word, video projection and the occasional dance demonstration, it was very light on linear narrative, dealing mostly in the creation of atmosphere, mood and poetic images. I confess I found it hard to see the connection of a lot of what took place to an exploration of the ‘fight, freeze or flee’ reflexes. However, The moment I saw you… contained moments of delicate beauty particularly as the performers, rotated amongst the life rafts treating the small audience to close up performances. My favourite instance of this was the use of a hand-held projector, projecting images of a woman floating in the sea on a lilo onto the back of a packet of pills  placed on the hand of an audience member. Performer Helen Paris accompanied the projection with a description of the sensation of ‘floating upon ones own breath’. In this regard the performance was wholly successful in creating beautiful images that will certainly stay in my memory.

Similarly, the show’s climax is a masterstroke that will truly warm your heart. Yet I had an inescapable feeling when the performance ended that it was never quite a sum of its parts. Perhaps the simplest way to express it was that this show was packed with interesting ideas without ever coming across as a complete thought.


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