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Point of Echoes review at St Chad’s Centre, Bishop’s Tachbrook – ‘dance-theatre for village halls’

The cast of Point of Echoes at St Chad’s Centre, Bishop’s Tachbrook The cast of Point of Echoes at St Chad’s Centre, Bishop’s Tachbrook
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In this first commission from the Rural Touring Dance Initiative, Ben Wright – previously a principal for Matthew Bourne – choreographs and directs a atmospheric sea-side ghost story. There are familiar ingredients: a lighthouse, a freak weather event and a shipwreck which washes ashore a ghostly presence.

A slow first act is hampered by drawn-out exposition, with the show at its most gripping when it amps up the horror during its dance segments. Marta Masiero’s ghost is all splayed limbs and distressed jerking – in one sequence she synchronises uncannily with Alan Stone’s erratic sound design of shard-like of noises and screams.

Elsewhere Point of Echoes feels stylistically confused. Dom Czapski plays a weary, down-to-earth lighthouse keeper with straightforward simplicity, while Tom Heyes as his impressionable assistant is full of cartoonish whimsy – the two characters feel as if they belong in different shows.

Attempting to blend “the tone of a Wes Anderson movie with the the eerie dread of The Twilight Zone”, the show doesn’t quite commit to the aesthetic extremes of those sources. There’s some inconsistency too in how the dramatic scenes, mostly played straight, are articulated with dance, the diegetic rules of the show unclear.

Its charm comes chiefly from the way it transforms its surroundings – designed especially to be performed in village halls, Lucy Hansom’s versatile lighting rig and Will Holt’s large, imposing set of a circular platform are remarkably effective at altering an intimate playing space.

Verdict
A spooky but strangely pitched dance-theatre show designed for village halls
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