The audience is encouraged to arrive early and investigate the performance space, after all it’s promoted as an arts installation as much as it is a piece of theatre. But don’t arrive too early as in truth there’s not much to see, huge projections of clouds, soothing music, lots of lights at varying heights and a woman and a whippet. In fact the whole effect of the evening is like being in one of those relaxation rooms in a spa, where you feel warm and slightly dreamlike.
The performer recalls sentences linked to home, how the landscape impacts on us and the force of nature in our lives. The colours of the projections subtly change and the music alters, ending in birdsong. While the whippet sleeps, the performer tells a story using all the previous random sentences about how we would feel if our links to nature were withdrawn and the 45-minute piece suddenly becomes more coherent. ‘Swallows over rape fields,’ utters the performer, moving on to hedgehogs and light and colour with a stream of innocent, nostalgic references to the natural world.
For this show, Fevered Sleep spoke to people about their memories of the non-human world around us and how they would feel if they lost that contact. It’s an interesting concept but for me, the quality of the language was neither beautiful nor evocative enough.
Britain has a great tradition of pastoral writing and given that this show relies on language more heavily than the art installation, it didn’t quite work. It felt like a very interesting piece…but a work in progress.