Out of this World. Literally.
This is a company that lives up to the suggestions of its name – not just that it’s vital, but because vertical take-off and landing would offer no problems to these performers, who defy the normal limitations of dance as readily as they defy categorisation. If founder Mark Murphy’s name seems familiar, that could be because he’s had a 20-plus years relationship with Northern Stage, making Newcastle one of those lucky locations to enjoy his genre-busting take on stage movement as drama, dance and all points in between.
And now Out of this World takes us to the scariest place we can encounter – inside our mind without a control lever. There is a narrative structure, as a woman descends into a medical coma and her unconscious brain takes the opportunity to re-evaluate her life. This simple story, played out through image, sound and movement, becomes a multi-media roller-coaster ride, with Murphy’s trade-mark use of projection, film content and something damn close to death defying acrobatics. Did I say the dancer descends? It’s more like swoops, dives and circles, conveying a terrifying sense of unwitting physicality to echo the journey her mind is taking.
That’s the strength of the V-TOL style – the dancing body becomes a vehicle for our interior experiences, while the staging deepens and contextualises the sense of familiarity suddenly becoming strange. And on top of all that, it’s enthralling physical theatre, where you can simply enjoy the energy of the ride yet emerge knowing you’ve had a moving brush with the condition of being human.
Mark Murphy’s V-TOL: Out of this World, Friday 26 & Saturday 27 May,Northern Stage, Newcastle, 7.30pm, £13.50-£25. northernstage.co.uk