Guardian Review – 4 Stars on Curious: Dr Leslie Hill

FOUR STARS Lyn Gardner The Guardian, Sunday 21 March 2010

Until I saw this exquisitely delicate show, created by Curious, staged here as part of Scotland’s National Review of Live Art, I had never considered that when you are cast adrift on a lilo, you are, in effect, floating on nothing but your own breath. If your breath gives out as you float out to sea, you will certainly sink and drown. You might be swallowed by a whale and find yourself sitting in its belly and bleached white by its gastric juices, like the sailor who tumbled overboard from his ship and was found by his crew inside the whale’s stomach: white, frozen with fear but still breathing.

The lure of the sea is strong in this beautiful, watery show where the spectators becomes immersed, too. You have to find your sea legs in a performance that places the audience in jelly-like structures recreating the experience of sea sickness or that lurch in the stomach that comes with sudden love or terrible fear. This is all about gut feelings.

Film and live performance, soundscape and installation combine in this love story to offer glimpses of an endless horizon as well as intimate close-ups. A pack of sea sickness pills becomes a miniature movie screen; we pry into the stomach of a member of the audience to find a surprising place where boats lurch on storm-tossed gastric oceans.

There is something immensely wistful about a piece that demonstrates that we are merely chemical compounds, and yet also shows us how to discover equilibrium. At the end, we are paired up and dance, an apple balanced between our foreheads. Like every second of this show, it is fragile and intangible.

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