We Can Time Travel review at Shoreditch Town Hall, London – ‘imaginative gig theatre’
We Can Time Travel is the latest piece of gig theatre from Dom Coyote, who created genre frontrunner Songs for the End of the World. Now he’s back underground with another semi-apocalyptic tale told largely through music.
Rich Rusk’s and Coyote’s show is loosely inspired by HG Wells’ The Time Machine. Coyote is the sole performer, mixing his monologue with undulating, electronic folk songs. His delivery is as gentle and lyrical as a bedtime story. This is soothing but carries the risk of the audience dropping off at points.
The narrative and aesthetic have an analogue quality, the time machine represented by a table of synthesisers. Coyote’s character plays cassette tapes of his polar explorer Grandfather’s expeditions, collections of sounds (solar flares, his granddad eating an apple) with a childlike charm.
Ruth Shepherd’s set design is reminiscent of Ilya Kabakov’s 1985 artwork The Man Who Flew Into Space From His Apartment. Kabakov’s work was hailed as the first ‘total installation’ and similarly Shepherd’s creation of Coyote’s apartment spreads across the corridors of Shoreditch Town Hall’s basement space. Chris Swain’s lighting is a pulsing network of exposed bulbs which defy their lo-fi appearance, even creating visit to the end of the universe complete with dying sun.
The piece has a humanity at its heart. “I like the present, it’s the best place to be,” chirps Coyote. At a time when many may feel contrary, his music and optimism is a welcome beacon of hope.
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