Tuesday, 24 June 2014
Theatre review: Red Forest
In their dance-infused style, the company take the Earth-mother from African drought to the 2011 Japanese tsunami, from the risk of radiation poisoning in Chernobyl to sexual assault by Spanish soldiers.
Belarus Free Theatre are capable of creating some very strong visuals, not always featuring hot shirtless men although that doesn't hurt. But their narrative for Red Forest is beyond confused, and far from the multimedia elements complementing each other the actors, video and narration often seem to contradict one another. So mid-scene the captions will tell us we've moved from Liberia to Japan, to Morocco, to Brazil, to Belarus, to Spain then back to Brazil again, all in what we were told was a Nigerian fable.
I suppose there's some originality in Belarus Free Theatre managing to get through an entire show without wasting food or getting naked (although if Francesco Petruzzelli wishes to correct this oversight he can see me after class.)
But the show's environmental message never gets far beyond "destroying the planet's bad, m'kay?" and the use of Native Americans and Africans as somehow more spiritually connected to the earth wraps the show up in patronising cliché.
Red Forest by Belarus Free Theatre is booking until the 5th of July at the Young Vic's Maria.
Running time: 1 hour 20 minutes straight through.