Theatre review: Plain As Paper

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Birds made of paper are fluttering overhead, held on the end of long poles by the cast, and it feels very much like the calm before the storm; a period of repose before the inventive and action-filled spectacle which follows.

Star rating: ***

Venue: Greenside @ Nicolson Square (Venue 209)

The next hour sees the stage filled with activity, a monochrome procession of black-clad performers and fluttering, folded, manhandled sheets of plain white paper which form both the backdrop to this near-silent combination of dance and physical theatre and its only prop.

Artistic director Gary L Johnson and his GLJ company have created a work which is complex in execution and seemingly simple in the way its choreography fits joyfully together.

That the scenarios they imagine are somehow meant to take us on a tour of 20th century history – from soldiers in the trenches of World War I to the bustle of New York city streets and a sequence which at least imitates classical Chinese dance forms – is something of an affectation. Viewers will learn nothing about history here, but they should find themselves entertained, none the less, by a show whose occasionally rough execution is an effect of commendable ambition and huge enthusiasm.

Until 20 August. Today 10:20am.

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