Moving sheets billow, and the waves begin to look as although they are dancing as we stare out to sea. So the stage is set for this nautical themed dance piece set in a far-flung lighthouse. But as always with matters close to tide, there is more than just fog in this story. Point of Echoes treads that difficult line between dance and acting undaunted, cleverly blending emotive and inquisitive modern dance with an interesting plot and dialogue. Aesthetically the imaginative use of set, lighting, and music creates a wonderful show you could sink slowly into, but beware of what lurks beneath the depths.
But let’s start at the bottom? The music for some of the piece drowns out the dialogue, and for a dance piece with quite a lot of important text, it is a shame to have such bad acoustics. Also, some of the accents don’t match the voiceovers or their own parent’s accents – small but important. There are also some clumsy elongated moments with the setting up of the lighthouse which diminishes the magic of that section. Lastly, dancers (on average) are not known for their acting ability (just watch the faces of any classical ballet) so you would be forgiven for expecting a heavy dose of melodrama. This is not the case, but with such a multitalented cast, unfortunately, Dom Czapski is the weakest link on the acting front. A wonderful dancer, hypnotic and clear in his movements, but unable to fully flesh out the lines that are so well written. With Czapski having the second largest role, this does affect the overall piece more than one would like.
Now let’s dive into the good, and what a pool of good it is. We are dunked (I will stop soon) into a strange world of broken, lonely men and a spine-chilling creature emerging from the storm. The plot is a little like a watery Let The Right One In, mixing fairy stories of changelings with a more maritime theme. A fully actualised plot and a good script punctured with arresting dance? Point of Echoes, you spoil us! The choreography/directing by the well-known Ben Wright makes you fall in love with experimental dance once more. Throwing the rules out the window, it questions what comes to mind when we think of “dance”. Visceral, childlike and free, this score of movement act like songs would in a musical, bringing an extra and marvellous dimension. Point of Echoes lead Thomas Heyes is s tour de force indeed as he plays the autistic lead (think Curious Incident but if Bon Iver did the music); he is both an accomplished actor and a magnetic dancer. Your eyes will be glued to him from start to finish. An honourable mention also for Marta Masiero playing the otherworldly stranger, her use of her body, coupled with a sequence of horrific soundscapes, is terrifying and the highlight of the show. Rarely am I frightened by a dance piece, but this ghostly seaward fairy tale is hair-raising and with clever use of costume, lighting, lots of fog and music that swells your heart, it is a reverting performance.
Point of Echoes blurs the interdisciplinary theatrical lines that divide art into its neat little squares; this is a breath of fresh sea air (sorry, last one I promise)! With a wonderful story, music that fills you up and movement that could keep my narcoleptic grandpa engaged, this piece isn’t slowing down anytime soon. With a sense of love and loss that is palpable, it is a melancholy triumph. I would recommend you to get lost in its sad beauty.
Point of Echoes played at The Place Theatre until 22 September 2018. For further information, please click here.