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Missing review at Battersea Arts Centre, London – ‘poetically performed’

Gecko's Missing at Battersea Arts Centre, London. Photo: Robert Golden

The 2015 London run of Gecko’s Missing was cut short by the fire that destroyed the Battersea Arts Centre’s Grand Hall in March of that year. Now the Hall – and the company’s set – have been restored, allowing this marvel of poetic scenography and empathetic performances to finally finish its run.

The plot is loosely sketched in bright colours. Lily (Katie Lusby) recalls her warring parents, their Mediterranean passion missing from her grey nine-to-five life.

The structure mimics the instability of memory. Flashes and daydreams of the past and how it shapes who we are in the here and now. This feels particularly fitting in the new Grand Hall where the scars of the fire have been left visible on the walls, the BAC’s history made an integral part of its future.

A five-strong cast dances around handheld screens like floating televisions, and across a series of travelators. The performers, speaking in multiple languages, move smoothly and swiftly across your eyeline like the European theatre equivalent of the Generation Game conveyor belt.

As well as being a metaphor for the way memory is constantly shifting, the moving floor does something remarkable to the show’s pacing. A courtship is flown through, the couple frantically pursuing each other along a treadmill to marriage. When finally they are wed and forced together on a sofa, they stare at each other as if to say, “How the hell did we get here?” It’s a passionate journey with a very real poignancy, performed with astonishing human and technical skill.

BAC is back: How Battersea Arts Centre rose from the ashes of a devastating fire to renew its mission

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Verdict
Battersea Arts Centre's Great Hall reopens with Gecko’s poetically performed mediation on memory, loss and identity
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