Broadway Baby: A Dream (London)

★★★★ [Four Stars]

The Krumple is an international theatre company by graduates of Ecole Internationale de Theatre Jacques Lecoq. Famed for its physical theatre, this troupe aims to create a language without borders through the expression of the human body. Go to Sleep, Goddamnit! is their first full-length production and deals with the question: “What does one do when one's occupation has become obsolete?”

A church is struggling to attract followers, the priest is getting frustrated and sleepless, and the assisting church ladies are trying to keep themselves occupied. All struggle with the silence, being drawn to the music or activity of some kind. Using beautiful full masks and no words, this performance is best just experienced. To try to create a full comprehensive narrative is possible but each audience member will create his own story. We are sucked into the different scenes where, without the usual facial expression to convey emotions or words to express a thought, a single gesture signifies so much.

It’s quality physical theatre that reaches true heights when there is a natural fluidity to a character and the scene. The clumsy female character by Oda Kirkebø Nyfløtt was an absolute delight in her consistent lovable vulnerability. The three female characters are largely responsible for the warmth and humour of the piece; saving it from sinking into a bleak portrayal of a dying society.Their masks perfectly complement the body, male or female, strengthen the character: the tyrant black haired lady captures with just one look at the audience. My inability to identify performers pays tribute to the artists who totally immerse themselves in several characters.

Go to Sleep Goddamnit! creates surreal scenes and the boundaries between reality and dream get blurred. There are a magical moments when the Priest meets a childhood memory or when the two women put on headphones, which proof The Krumple have a beautiful understanding of the medium of theatre.

I enjoyed the wordless quality of the performance and almost wished that the commentary of the sleep-meditation tape, was recorded in gibberish. Now, the comprehensible English almost cuts through the dreamlike atmosphere and anchors the audience anchored to the here and now. A clear choice, as the second instalment came with an underlying message but the question is whether this was needed at all.

By Clarissa Widya