Brighton Fringe 2008
"Two", a company founded in spring 2007 by Katarina Djenadic and Michal Paker presented their work "Hide or Reveal", at the rather intimate below-stairs theatre at the Brighton media Centre. Amix of "live art" and physical theatre and movement, Hide or Reveal is billed as "a performance about the body as a subject, object and communication mechanism evident in the truth and pretense of everyday life and the thin line that goes between them"
Hide or Reveal explores in movement (mostly to music) and physical theatre, in about 45 minutes, the world of what we hide and what we show. Much play is made of how clothes and "costume" represent the layers of self, and there is some enjoyable comedy to be had in the different interpretations presented by performers Katarina Djenadic and Michal Paker of costume, or how we appear on the surface, and the deeper selves we hide underneath.
A series of musical and mimed vignettes, with one spoken piece included, there’s a lot to see here. We have dance, physical comedy, facial theatre, eye theatre, choreographed dance, clowning, and the occasional dramatci set piece. The theme is explored in different ways – the symbols of how we "hide or reveal" – the sunglasses, the hats, the pithy responses we make to each other in superficial conversation.
Repetition is used to comic effect and the darker aspects of "hide or reveal" in life also come through. A set piece involving lipstick was very well staged and genuinely affecting and funny. The strongest pieces made use of the performers’ skill in facial and eye theatre. The consistency in timing and coordination of the two performers was not always there. When the two were entirely in time and tune with each other, it was electric. When it drifted even a little, the impact was lost.
There are moments of real atmoshpere in a piece that I hope is still evolving, as some of the pieces work more effectively than others. I particularly liked the synchronised movement with clothes – some of this was very tightly and deftly done, other movements need further choreography and rehearsal.
The material covers a journey through joy and despair, a narrative that is sometimes deliberately clear and, at other times, has more of a surrealist "live art" feel, bereft of narrative, more a live tapestry of image, movement and sound. I also felt that the music, though well chosen, was let down a bit by poorly edited links; sometimes the music just cut out. This needs to be slicker, the performers and performance deserve it.
Hide or Reveal is a welcome addition to this year’s Fringe. It’s good to see a company collaborating in this way, experimenting and producing a genuinely atmospheric piece of performance. I hope it continues to evolve. Well worth a look.