The five performers sat in a row across the front of the stage as the audience put on their headphones may be still as they begin Kai Fischer's dramatic exploration of assorted twilight zones, but everything they say and do over the next hour suggests lives in constant motion. With a big screen behind them projecting swirls of far off planets and torrents of ocean, the quintet juxtapose the stories of Yuri Gagarin, the Russian cosmonaut who in 1961 became the first man in space, and a group of nameless refugees on the run from Africa to a world full of western promise.
It begins informally enough, with guitarist Tyler Collins and percussionist Gameli Tordzro tapping out infectious global rhythms while performers Ryan Gerald, Mercy Ojelade and Adura Onashile test out microphones that will link them directly with the audience's own wavelength. Within seconds, however, we hear the crackle of pre-launch dialogue between Gagarin and a Ground Control occupied by Sergei Korolev, a man with a similar dream of space travel. We hear too the first-hand accounts of equally perilous voyages as refugees paddle their desperate way across the sea in a yellow toy dinghy.
Pulsed by Matt Padden's sound design, out of this emerges a Fourth World sensurround collage, which off-sets the oddly similar sounds of rocket launchers and waves crashing to startlingly evocative effect. Produced by Fischer in association with the Tron and the National Theatre of Scotland, the result is a vital snapshot of universal displacement, in which both Gagarin and the refugees are left hanging, without a planet or land of any kind to call home.
The Herald, April 6th 2015