Review: Toujours et Près de Moi by Erratica

Slowly unfolding emotions and impressive visual trickery

dance review (edinburgh) | Read in About 2 minutes
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Toujours et Pres de Moi
Published 05 Aug 2018

The ancient stage illusion of Pepper's Ghost has been remastered for the 21st century with projections, post-modern construction and pathos. Actors François Testory and Sarah Thom slowly and silently move around a wooden table and manipulate boxes of memories, consumately expressing sorrow and long-term familiarity whilst doing very little. Their fleshy middle-aged bodies interact with spry projections of younger selves who appear in and out of their memory boxes, playing out snippets of the relationship's highs and lows.

Smoothly mixed renaissance and neo-classical vocal recordings score these captured moments as the physically present pair look on. Their filmed counterparts, miniaturised and ghostly, appear on a screen of tilted perspex that reflects projections from the floor below. The younger pair shift in scale with intensity of emotion and, while we see them relive old hurts amid the landscape of table and boxes, the actors on the other side of the screen moving the props around actually see nothing. 

The technology—and the actors' work with it—is very clever, but this level of trickery requires a rigour of content to match. The story, though poignant, doesn't offer any surprises and feels overly drawn out. While the drama is oblique, it seems hugely remiss of the company not to offer any trigger warning in their publicity materials that the show apparently revolves around a woman's inability to carry a child to term.

Nonetheless, a striking show in its novelty.