Sutra may well be a short piece of theatre running at just over an hour long, but it continually outdoes itself with each segment taking your breath away more and more each time. An empty stage apart from a number of wooden crates is constantly filled with massively talented and acrobatic Buddhist Shaolin monks who jump, fight and move the crates with ease.
The stand out performance is that of the child monk who shows great agility and links the scenes together. The plot of the piece may be lost somewhat in the spectacle, and to be honest there are probably several interpretations to what the audience is seeing, but what is shared is the respect that the audience shows the performers. I don’t think I’ve ever been in an auditorium so silent apart from the odd gasp from surprised audience members.
Designed by Turner Prize-winning artist Antony Gormley the monks move the crates to form a whole plethora of scenes, from walls to boats, from animals to flowers, from towers to bunks. Against the stark backdrop of the stage they look organic and become performers themselves.
A fantastic and exciting piece that keeps you on the edge of your seat and is a feast for your eyes.
- Jonathan Wright