Massive Owl’s abstraction of Stand by Me, an adaptation of Stephen King’s novella The Body was a beautiful view of the microscopic. Starting with a landscape description of Castle Rock as the audience stare at the words on a projected screen, the story unfolds of an unknowing and sensitive relationship between the images of three voiceless characters in the original novella; a train, Ray, and a deer.
When the lives of the voiceless are played out, there is an underlying sadness that washes over the landscape of the show bringing to light the nuances of the unassuming. The conversations between a train and self proclaimed thrill seeker Ray, was a particularly beautiful moment – ploughing through our bodies with such force it struck me in an emotional way. However as a reviewer, it probably isn’t very reviewer-y of me to not have seen or read two very important references that the show is based on, yet, I was suddenly becoming attached to these characters, nostalgic for a loss I couldn’t recognise.
Massive Owl’s practise sits very playfully, and accessibly, between live art and theatre. The narrative shifts, and striking images lay bare to be absorbed so generously. Suddenly the use (or lack) of staging enhanced this dreamlike sort of state that I had been lulled into.
Massive Owl’s practise sits very playfully, and accessibly, between live art and theatre. The narrative shifts, and striking images lay bare to be absorbed so generously. Suddenly the use (or lack) of staging enhanced this dreamlike sort of state that I had been lulled into. The washes of pastel, the use of light and shadow from the manual movement of a projector, spaces created with the harsh lines of the projector’s limits. The energy of the piece was in points, electrifying. I was moving constantly, and entered into a sway, completely engulfed in the movement of the cast – Jenny Duffy, Sam Powell and Danny Prosser.
And unintentionally left until last, is the praise for its sultry, evocative soundtrack accompanying the show; as engaging as the performances, the music reacted to space and movement like a big hug. Their breath in sync with the narrative in such a wonderful way that it may have been my favourite part. A little masterclass in the magic of simple.
Castle Rock is complex crafting of love, loss and acceptance, simply performed in the manifestations of those characters who lie in the background. Lovely, lovely show – see it when you can!
As part of Word of Warning’s pay what you feel scheme at The Lowry, its success sets a precedent for other schemes in the city, a chance for more people to access contemporary performance. I can’t wait to see more in this programme of events, lined up for the rest of Spring.