Get our free email newsletter with just one click

Brighton Festival: Apparition review at Brighton Corn Exchange

by -

Apparition experiments with real and virtual bodies. A piece for two dancers, it uses interactive technologies to synchronise physical movement with the projection of digital images behind the performers. Sometimes the performers are in control, sometimes their bodies seem engulfed or dispersed into a million fragments.

Artistic director Klaus Obermaier achieves some extraordinary effects. At times the dancers disappear into the images, caged by barcoded lines, merging with the pixellated background or even with each other to form weird new non-human shapes. They become a series of moving geometries: evanescent and decorporealised.

When Robert Tannion and Desiree Kongerod are not absorbed into the virtual, they dance odd, spiky duets or solos but their movements reject narrative and expressiveness. Indeed, the piece as a whole is more concerned with creating ravishing images than with ideas: it evokes thoughts about a futuristic, post-human world, but doesn’t link them into themes or motifs.

Some of the digitised background images look like they come from the 1980s, human faces composed of a thousand tiny pixels, but the historical evolution of the virtual is not Obermaier’s concern. Oddly, too, the match between the dancers’ movements and the virtual images is sometimes so neat that it looks pre-set rather than kinetically responsive. The piece can therefore feel rather automatic at times.

But it remains compelling because of the visual trompe l’oeil it creates while bodies literally dissolve before your eyes, flatten into two dimensional patterns, or becomes containers for zigzagging molecules.

Production Information

Brighton Corn Exchange, May 17-18

Klaus Obermaier
Robert Tannion, Desiree Kongerod
Brighton Festival
Robert Tannion, Desiree Kongerod
Running time

We need your help…

When you subscribe to The Stage, you’re investing in our journalism. And our journalism is invested in supporting theatre and the performing arts.

The Stage is a family business, operated by the same family since we were founded in 1880. We do not receive government funding. We are not owned by a large corporation. Our editorial is not dictated by ticket sales.

We are fully independent, but this means we rely on revenue from readers to survive.

Help us continue to report on great work across the UK, champion new talent and keep up our investigative journalism that holds the powerful to account. Your subscription helps ensure our journalism can continue.

Subscribers to The Stage get 10% off The Stage Tickets’ price