The Locked Room – Project Arts Centre – Review by Conor O’Carroll
Set in a white room two strangers wake up and try to make sense of their environment through mime, dance and acrobatics. At first they try to find ways out by exploring the edges of the room and climbing a rope to look above. Soon they give up and concentrate on where they are. The set is simple but builds through bottomless Russian doll boxes that conceal linked scarves (with a banana), a clothes line and a radio.
The radio brings music to the performance which is a wonderful mix of 1920’s jazz / blues, Charleston and modern. Through dance the pair begin to develop a relationship. This is further enhanced by the discovery of a musical box that is only activated by standing on it.
There is a classic slapstick Tom and Jerry scene with the ticking time bomb. There’s not much to eat apart from lots of chocolate bars and a wax apple. To indicate the passing of time the set goes dark and there is the sound of a large mechanical clock and chimes. The pair sleep apart on opposite sides of the room.
Both performers show their talents through acrobatics. The male character climbs up a rope to see if there is a way out but falls back down. There is a beautiful dream sequence where the woman climbs aerial ribbons and uses the fabric to suspend and roll her body in different positions.
As the show progresses the pair gradually come closer together in an acceptance of where they are. They sleep beside one another. There is a spectacular finale where they pull off their clothes to reveal sparkling costumes and perform together on the trapeze.
Niamh Creely and Jonathan Walsh show grace, strength and superb control in dance and acrobatics. This is a highly original and captivating show.
Duration – 65 minutes long with no interval.
Written by Niamh Creely and Jonathan Walsh
Direction and Choreography by Niamh Creely and Jonathan Walsh
Performed by Niamh Creely and Jonathan Walsh
Lighting and set by Pauric Hackett
Costumes by Shir Madness
Composer by Jonathan Walsh
Dramaturg by Dan Colley
Produced by Lisa Fox