Going into Echoa knowing nothing about what was to come was more than exciting. The questions “How does a percussionist dance?” and “What is the sound of a dancer?” are all over the posters which adorn the walls of the Lost Theatre, and they leave you wondering exactly what you are about to experience.
What is to be found inside the small space is a beautiful combination of music and dance, with a percussion-driven score played across drums, glockenspiels, wooden boxes and even the human body. This, combined with the skilled dance of Emmanuelle Gouiard and Thomas Guerry (the show’s co-creator), lets both the audience and the cast explore the beats which drive us, and the way in which humanity responds to those beats in daily life. From the dreamlike state of just waking up, to the hubbub of conversation, everything has a rhythm and these rhythms give more and more as we respond to them in daring, caring and even hilarious ways.
Created by the Arcosm Company 10 years ago, Echoa has had a long and fruitful life which it fully deserves. Thomas Guerry and Camille Rocailleux, a choreographer and composer respectively, have produced this show and four others, though Echoa has been the widest received. In their own words, the piece is a subtle mix of “talent and simplicity, spontaneity and rigorous work, humour and poetry…” and Echoa definitely carries it all in spades. The musicianship is incredible, with Minh Tam Nguyen and Rocailleux playing beautifully no matter what instrument they are faced with, and Guerry and Gouiard making their way into the music by becoming instruments on more than one occasion. Similarly, Nguyen and Rocailleux take a part in the movement, blending seamlessly in.
It takes a lot of rhythm and practise to play so beautifully and dance so gracefully, and there must have been many hours in rehearsal which required focus and drive for the dancers and percussionists to familiarise themselves with alien pieces of equipment. Fortunately, it entirely pays off, and the end result is a beautiful combination of dreams, nightmares, music and movement which perfectly portrays the ethos of Arcosm, expressing chaos, rebellion and euphoria as a reflection of the lives of the creators, and the lives of those around them.
Spanning an all-too-short 55 minutes, Echoa is a performance which very much deserves all of the attention it can get, and more besides. As a spirited piece of dance and music which has crossed the globe and been loved wherever it has played, I can certainly see Echoa making waves.
Echoa runs at the Lost Theatre in Stockwell until 16 December 2012. For tickets, call 0844 847 1680, or visit www.losttheatre.co.uk