Theatre Ad Infinitum’s latest Edinburgh Fringe Production
Staged in pitch black darkness which is only broken by a series of torch-lights, Light presents its audience with a dark dystopian future. Samuel Fry reviews Theatre Ad Infinitum’s current Edinburgh Fringe Production.
You stretch yourself watching so many shows at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival that when the lights go out and the room turns to black, there is a real risk of sending half of your audience to sleep. So, when the room went completely dark and a voiceover asked that the audience turn off all devices, especially those that illuminate, I was worried. I had found myself napping from time-to-time in some performances; yet, in this spectacular devised show there was no risk of sleeping. The voiceover continued, “Please do not turn on any mobile phones during the performace, we will be watching you”. They may have been watching us, but I could not take my eyes off of them.
Theatre Ad Infinitum’s new show Light presents us with a dark dystopian future. The piece is inspired by a dream, the revelations of whistle-blower Edward Snowden and the debate surrounding state surveillance. They present a world where people can send mind messages to one another, while the government can monitor people’s thoughts.
An intense darkness is broken by a series of torch-lights, which shine on fast moving scenes with expert choreography. The audience is taken, at some pace, through scenes of love, betrayal, and – in particular – technological power.
It is no surprise that Light is receiving 5 star reviews from various publications, as the talent on show is demonstrated from the precise movement of torches and spotlights through to the emotionally led movements of the actors on stage. Together, they present a nightmarish future where the state is secretly watching their citizens’ minds. Questioning the control of state secrecy, the outcome is a show that fuses graphic novels, science fiction sounds and visuals and physical theatre.
Light is a fantastic show and is clearly one of the gems of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. That shouldn’t be surprising though as it follows other successes from Theatre Ad Infinitum, including Ballad of the Burning Star and Translunar Paradise.
The show is written and directed by, the clearly talented, George Mann. Prior to their Edinburgh Fringe, Mann said that ten years ago he woke up from a nightmare about a mass surveillance future. He explained that: “I dreamt I was working for a government that could penetrate my every thought. It was anarchic, violent and very dark. But what really stayed with me was a feeling of fear: of losing our democracy and freedom. When Edward Snowden’s surveillance revelations came to light two things struck me: how technology can give a few people power over the masses; and the lack of reaction: there was barely any anger, protest, or retaliation. It felt like we were sleepwalking into a future in which freedom and democracy are endangered. So I felt the time had come to create Light.”
I have not seen a Theatre Ad Infinitum show before, but I would encourage others to do just that. As with previous performances, they push boundaries, take risks and experiment with a variety of different theatre styles.
Light is staged in pitch-black, but this is one show that will open your eyes.