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Late Night review at Barbican Pit, London – ‘hazy and dreamlike’

The cast of Late Night at Barbican Pit, London. Photo: Vassilis Makris

There has been a war, or some other form of catastrophe. Things have broken down. Six people stand on a stage framed by debris. The set looks a little like the ruins of a ballroom or a hotel. An old television set flickers in the corner. The performers are elegantly dressed. They dance, a little too fast, twirling, wide-eyed, giddy. They stand in a line and take turns to speak into a microphone. The snatches of dialogue we hear describe people fleeing, sleeping in shelters, crossing a ravaged landscape. Sometimes we appear to be in London, sometimes Berlin, sometimes Novi Sad. At times this feels like the future, at times the past. Sometimes it feels post-apocalyptic, sometimes like the dawn of something new and beautiful

Blitz Theatre is a contemporary Greek theatre collective and the hazy and dreamlike Late Night is being presented as part of LIFT. It’s an intentionally repetitious piece, absurd, circling. The sextet perform magic tricks (they are not very good at magic tricks). They turn cartwheels (they are not very good at those either). But still they applaud one another.

Devised by the company and performed in Greek with English surtitles, the piece mixes humour with a sense of the purgatorial. Things collapse. The performers tumble to the floor. The ceiling caves in. There are traces of Beckett in this woozy world; there is poetry in the piece’s gentle relentlessness, its turning in circles. The lights dim, but one feels this is not the ending. The dance will soon begin again.

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Atmospheric, dreamlike piece of dislocation, ruin and rebirth