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Nomanslanding

Tramway, Glasgow until July 2nd
Four stars

In the dead of night, the audience are split in two and led under-cover into lamp-lit tented structures. Inside, what look like peasant women on the run lead us down a ramp and into a large circular pod. It feels part cathedral, part space-ship, and to come blinking into the light of such a fantastical structure after stumbling in the dark disorientates and overwhelms. Sat around the pod as if awaiting prayers to begin, we watch as performers Nerea Bello and Judith Williams incant mournfully on either side of the room. Their keening chorales embark on a voyage of their own, twisting around each other by way of the international language of singing. As if in sympathy, the walls wail and whisper, before starting to move as those on either side of the pod are left stranded, a gulf between them.

This international co-commission between Glasgow Life and the Merchant City Festival, Sydney Harbour Foreshaw Authority in Australia and Urbane Kienste Ruhr in Germany brings together five artists from three countries to fuse a multitude of disciplines and shared interests. Australians Robyn Backen, Nigel Helyer aka Dr Sonique and Jennifer Turpin all work by various degrees in different forms of sonic architecture and environmental sculpture. From the Netherlands, Andre Dekker creates sculptural public provocations. More locally, Graham Eatough is best known as a theatre director and co-founder of Suspect Culture theatre company.

With input from Refugee Festival Scotland, there are echoes of lost civilisation(s) in this twenty-five minute performed installation. Those echoes show how a world, a country, a city, a street and even a person can be divided, not by natural seismic forces, but by artificial constructions. These walls aren't just physical, but stem from ideologies rooted in belief systems which have been co-opted and perverted. Through ceremonial, contemplation and reflection, Nomanslanding is a vital counterpoint to that, be it locally, globally or beyond.

The List, June 2017

ends

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