Friday, 1 May 2009

Kellerman - West Yorkshire Playhouse

Kellerman by Imitating the Dog
Director: Andrew Quick and Pete Brooks
Reviewer: Sara Jackson

This is the second production from Imitating the Dog, a company which uses digital media and physical performance to create their pieces.

Kellerman tells the story of a Doctor who believes he can time travel and has been placed in a psychiatric hospital as a result. The story of the piece is difficult to explain as it twists and turns and jumps between time zones in a seemingly random way. Kellerman has been induced into a hypnotic state in which a series of events occur including a brutal murder and the suicide of a young nurse.

The overriding feeling that I took from the piece was that it was just too long and slow. With a running time of 1.35 with no interval the piece lacked the necessary energy and pace to keep an audience captivated. By the time the screen announced Act 5 I heard at least 2 people groan. It seemed to take a very long time to get to what was an inevitable conclusion, which left you almost screaming, “Just get on with it!”

There were also far too many mistakes, leaving the piece feeling under rehearsed. The clever use of multimedia was ruined by a lack of coordination with the stage action. A recorded sound track was used instead of actor’s voices and mistakes with timing or props that appeared on stage but not in the recordings spoilt the effect.

The saving grace of the piece is Laura Hopkin’s design. The stage was split into two half’s which allowed for multiple scenes, adding to the effect of being at a live film. The graphics in
the background were fantastic and the use of a revolving stage against the stunning filmed scenes gave a spectacular visual effect.

On the whole a great idea poorly executed, the moments where the actor and media were working in unison were fantastic and you saw the brilliant effect that the directors Andrew Quick and Pete Brooks were aiming for. Unfortunately these moments
were few and far between.
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