Us/Them – a crisp, witty, playful and stylish piece of physical theatre for young audiences
Us/Them is taking Summer Hall by storm. And rightly so. It is a highly impressive piece of physical theatre. This is a crisp, witty, playful and stylish piece for young audiences by Belgian Theatre company Bronks and has super producer Richard Jordan‘s fingerprints all over it.
This striking show tells the story of the 2004 siege of a school by Chechen separatist with breathtaking originality.
The opening section set the tone for the piece, which plays across a range of emotions, as humour and playfulness coexist with much darker and disturbing content. The harrowing, yet innovative storytelling are edited and integrated from the start of performance, providing a narrative from which the rest of the piece extended. Skillfulness of movement and expression is evident in the way text is rendered.
What really stands out is the strong communication with the audience through vocal and facial work supported by building anticipation as to what was coming next.
A range of dynamics within movement work prevent any slippage of attention. This means that when the surprises in the devastatingly simple set design are unveiled, a strong theatrical context is created.
This two hander is played electrically by Gytha Parmentier, Roman Van Houtven.
Their duet sequences are magnificently developed to remind the audience of the tragic story of the siege we hear but through subtle re-working of imagery rather than anything sentimental. I’ll never look at chalk in the same way again.