Theatre review: Plain As Paper

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)

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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.