Ousia (3 stars)

This article is from 2009


Atmospheric illusion

All those who dared to board Darren Johnston’s Ren-Sa bus back in 2005, will know what a master of disorientation he is. It was a journey into the unknown, with blacked-out windows making it impossible to know where you would end up, or what would happen to you.

Ousia is a far more low-key, and shorter, affair but Johnston’s love of atmosphere is still very much in evidence. Led from the foyer back out onto the street, we’re taken into a side building, filled with dim corridors. Once again, the sense of anticipation is palpable: excitement at what’s to come, mixed with a modicum of fear as you feel your way through the darkness.

The show itself is engaging, although you can’t help but feel that Johnston could have done so much more with the set-up. Viewed through a dark gauze, a dancer moves beautifully in time with a mirror image projected onto the screen behind her. Strobe lighting clicks on and off repeatedly, dazzling the eyes, and eventually feeling like a filler where something more substantial belongs.

Dance Base @ Out of the Blue Drill Hall, 225 5525, until 30 Aug (not 24), £6.


  • 3 stars

As part of Escalator East to Edinburgh, previous Herald Angel winner, Darren Johnston (the creator of 2005 black bus nightmare 'Ren-sa') returns with another trip into the unknown. A fantastical installation world where projection technology meets Victorian illusion.