Emergence (3 stars)

This article is from 2011.


Photography | Andy Green

Death becomes the Pachamamas

It’s always tricky to deal with grief on stage. By its nature, it is an emotion that comes after the fact, making an audience feel it has missed out on the main event. It cannot be resolved in the way any other dramatic conflict is resolved.

This three-hander by the Pachamamas (not to be confused with Cora Bissett’s similarly named company) sidesteps the problem in two ways. The first is to focus not so much on death itself, but on the passage of time and the many moments in life when two people can grow apart. It considers the conflicting values of independence and isolation as it pieces together the relationship between a Finnish mother living in South America and her English-educated daughter.

The second way is to treat the subject as a physical theatre cabaret. Lorraine Sutherland’s production is inventive and impressionistic, jumping from song, to choreographed movement to dream-like surrealism. The results are uneven but the approach gives variety to a potentially predictable scenario. Even though Emergence doesn’t really have an end (what end could there be?), it is a spirited and diverting show.

Underbelly, 226 0000, until 28 Aug, 11.20am, £8.50–£9 (£7.50–£8).


  • 3 stars

In a smoky, darkened cafe a surreal and dusty cabaret singer rambles on about the universe, seasons, mythology and bad perms, whilst belting out the occasional tune. One by one, others find themselves passing through the doors of this strange cafe and are confronted by memories, dreams and encounters that allow them to…

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