Performance Live: The Way Out, aired on BBC FOUR & presented by Battersea Arts Centre
What is it?
Performance Live is a series of works from a wide spectrum of exciting artists. From poetry and comedy, to dance and drama, The Way Out is the latest addition to this exciting and experimental series. Directed by Suri Krishnamma, The Way Out features a number of powerful performance works.
What is it about?
An Outsider, played by Blaithin Mac Gabhann, is trying to escape the rain and stumbles into a seemingly deserted Battersea Arts Centre. She is greeted by the Guide, played by Omid Djalili, and they explore the building, weaving through stairways and corridors. Along the way, they meet a number of performers. Revolving around the search for exits and doorways and meanings, this journey takes the viewer through the entire building in a way you have never seen it before.
How did it make me feel?
An ethereal, bizarre and amusing triumph showing the Battersea Arts Centre and it’s programme in its finest. If you have ever been to this mosaicked relic of a building, even once, you will have a great sense of the atmosphere of the place - vintage, experimental, rough around the edges.
This 42 minute exploration through the corridors, stairways and performance spaces of the BAC features spoken word, movement, music and monologue amid a darkened yet serenely lit building. The individual performers that we meet along the way are flawless in their delivery - the true highlights are the appearance of dance-innovator Botis Seva with his piece Quick Sand, and Le Gateau Chocolat draped in gauze and hidden away in the rafters of the building with a hypnotising string trio in Liminal.
Omid Djalili provides an excellent framework for the film as the masterful and mysterious Guide, who leads the Outsider forward into the depths of the building. Also taking on a role of writer for the piece, Djalili is as poetic as he is powerful. The viewer is swept along as much by the single continuous shot in which the piece was filmed, as it is by Djalili’s Guide. Like a promenade performance from a distance, Djalili delivers you from start to finish in one motion.
The surreal showcase also includes hauntingly beautiful spoken-word poetry from Sanah Ahsanand, with Come As You Are, and Caleb Femi, performing Gentle Youth. The evening is given a celebratory and uplifting note by the acrobatics, movement and musical stylings of The Cocoa Butter Club.
Where is it playing?
The Way Out is available to view on demand via BBC iPlayer.
This performance gives hope and anticipation to the future of independent, experimental theatre and performance. It is a reminder of the rich variety of talent that exists in the UK and beyond, and I certainly can’t wait for theatre to return.
The Way Out is streaming now on demand on BBC iPlayer.
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