The Wardrobe Ensemble, following the success of Riot (based on a riot in Ikea in 2005), here present a retelling and analysis of the tragic Chilean mine collapse of 2010, where 33 miners were trapped 2000ft below ground.
On entry to Zoo's Aviary the audience are greeted by an ensemble of relaxed and chatty performers, who talk animatedly with the crowd. This sincerely honest and genuine atmosphere is sustained throughout the piece, as the talented cast keep a clear focus and commitment, handling difficult content sensitively and skilfully.
Using a mixture of verbatim and devised material, the production delves into several aspects of the event; the imagined experience of the men underground, the families, the psychiatrist employed to protect them, and the media response.
There is certainly a lot going on, which unfortunately leaves the piece feeling a little rushed and lacking in a clear structure. With so little factually known about aspects of the story the audience are encouraged to keep an open mind - the performers don't seem to want to make judgements, but this forced neutrality takes the sting out of some of the more moving moments.
However it's a fascinating show, backed by a beautiful live score and featuring complex video and excellent physical and choreographed sections. The young troupe are to be commended for their thoughtfulness and maturity here, and I am sure the show will grow given time.
- Chris Snow