Friday, March 26, 1999

Angel/Babel (The Mint, Dublin)

When a show involves hundreds of remote controlled spotlights, live electronic sound and a veritable Bologna of cables, both on stage and off, it is only to be expected that something technological will fail at just the wrong moment. As it happens, when a glitch struck Operating Theatre’s hi-tech Angel-Babel production, it was performer Olwen Fouere’s back that had gone pop. The company’s work-around – having Fouere perform the show lying on her back, while the audience watch the actor in suspended mirror – has to be one of the happier accidents in performing history.

The strangeness of the ploy matches the show’s cybergothic tone, and Fouere, as the eerie electronic presence, writhing in a stew of cables, lights and smoke is faultless. The theme of the evening may be to offer a millennial warning about an emerging electronic world, but the finesse of Roger Doyle’s soundscapes and Paul Keoghan’s sculptural lighting prove that, for the moment, technology remains subservient to the formidable vision of this company.

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