Monday, 12 August 2013

Leaving Planet Earth

EICC
4 stars
Suspension of disbelief is everything in Edinburgh-based site-specific auteurs Grid Iron's science-fiction spectacular, which moves its audience between worlds in epic fashion. Old Earth is finished, and a mass migration programme to a New Earth has been initiated. Chief architect of this is Vela, who has become a figurehead for the new society.

We're told all this during a film in a blacked-out bus as we travel out to the new planet. We've already checked in to an ambient soundtrack, and, once we've crossed the threshold as the final in-comers before the ties with old earth are cut, are given a guided tour by assorted mandarins who explain how our shiny new future will pan out. Behind all this, however, things aren't quite what they seem, as some of New Earth's inhabitants nostalgically cling to totems of their past held in the Old Earth Museum, while Vela herself appears to be falling apart.

Set mainly in the stunning confines of Edinburgh International Climbing Centre in Ratho, Catrin Evans and Lewis Hetherington's production is a dazzling whirligig of hi-tech sound and vision. Content-wise, it reads like an extended episode of any 1960s and 1970s cult sci-fi TV show you'd care to name, and is full of the sense of paranoia and prophecy of them all in a futuristic study of the sort of social control that is becoming endemic in the world right now. If one yearns for more depth, and to find out what happens beyond the triumphalistic finale, one can't help but be captured by a moment that promises you the world, but looks destined to leave you stranded instead.

The Herald, August 12th 2013


ends

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