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Moving in Houses

Tramway, Glasgow
3 stars
 Four wooden structures occupy each corner of Tramway 5’s bijou space. Each box-like structure forms the skeletal frame of some half-built des-res that might change every day on a gap-site turned building-site and soon-come housing estate. While an installation by day, by night each one finds people curled up in the dark, living together or alone in a room of their own while the traffic roars and the birds sing outside.

 This is the landscape mapped out in Theatre Arts Group’s devised exploration of a place that’s sometimes called home, a life in the day of a community isolated from each other both physically and existentially. As an audience of twenty navigate their way around, the seven performers drag their respective homes behind them, connecting them up as they greet the day, only occasionally engaging with each other.

 A great deal of thought has clearly gone into Rachel Clive and Kirsty Stansfield’s production, which attempts the sort of behind-closed-doors observations of human behaviour that Vanishing Point achieved so beautifully in the far grander Interiors. The wordless poetry of Moving in Houses, however, has a more informal, documentary feel, in which, beyond choreographed notions of everyday social intercourse, not that much actually happens.

 Even so, as the living results of the million and one botched experiments in urban regeneration and social engineering are hinted at, the performance is almost a form of very quiet activism. The most accomplished and complete part of Theatre Arts Group’s ruminations comes via Mark Vernon’s soundscape, a beguiling concoction of chimes, electronic melodies and environmental noises off. For this alone, Moving in Houses is worth stepping outside for.

 The Herald, January 16th 2012

 ends

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