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Voyager review at New Diorama Theatre, London – ‘spirited’

Idle Motion's Voyager at New Diorama, London. Photo: Tom Savage
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The Golden Record is a sort-of time capsule of sounds and images that sum up life on Earth. It was strapped to the Voyager spacecraft when it was launched in 1977. Visual theatre company Idle Motion’s new show takes this as its inspiration. With a five-strong cast, and trippy, space-y sound design, an imaginative set, and some judicious projection, the ensemble conjure up the journey – at least in one woman’s mind – from Earth to Mars.

After her mother dies, English teacher Carrie discovers that her parents both worked on the Golden Record. When an international search for a teacher to take part in a manned mission to Mars begins, Carrie – grieving and ricocheting from one emotion to the next – jumps at the chance, much to the chagrin of the boyfriend she has just proposed to.

It’s an intriguing psychological set-up, brought to life by the company’s engaging physical work (though, for the love of god, can we call a moratorium on slo-mo acting?) and clever use of minimal props. Carrie’s decision to drop her life and spend five years in space, however, is not drilled into enough and her character is exceedingly difficult to warm towards. The company are distractingly over-reliant on montages. They really do love a montage.

It’s never anything other than engaging though and is often very funny – in particular Julian Spooner, as the less than supportive fiance and a vain PE teacher, knows how to get a laugh. For all that it does well, this combination of personal voyage and interstellar discovery that doesn’t quite travel far enough.

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Spirited and inventive physical theatre that never completely takes off