Hit the north! Joan Cleville’s The North marks quite a departure from Plan B for Utopia. Gone is the gentle optimism, replaced by a more melancholic tone. But that’s not to say it’s completely bleak, more a study in human interaction.
When John (John Kendall) lands in an enigmatic no man’s land simply called ‘The North’, he finds himself at the mercy of the elements, and two strange creatures who are a hybrid of sirens and deer (Solene Weinachter and Eve Ganneau) in Scandinavian sweaters and rock star gold jeans.
The capricious moods are implicit within each movement- from Kendall’s furious, urgent solo to his slow dance with Ganneau, which turns into a fraught scene as they push and pull to the complex rhythms of their dialogue, groping for meaning.
There is an eerie,almost atavistic mood at times, yet it’s not without surrealist humour- Weinachter’s Donald Duck-esque language is hilarious, made even more so with Kendall’s deadpan face as he becomes increasingly nonplussed. A coat mime, a radio and a toy car provide the need for childlike invention during quiet moments.
Lysergic interludes also permeate, with haze, and dreamlike lighting bathing the trio. Luke Sutherland’s modernist sound, and an eclectic soundtrack from Mazzy Star to throat singing, reinstates the sense of universality – to communicate and adapt no matter what the cost. Just survival, in all its forms.