Mix and match

running on empty picCreating cross-genre work can be a revelatory process, with one medium casting new light on another and disparate pieces combining to form a greater, truly novel entity. However, marshalling numerous elements into a cohesive whole requires laser focus, something notable by its absence in the commendably ambitious Running on Empty.

Probe, a company formed by Antonia Grove in 2004 to explore interdisciplinary projects, has a good track record of brave, involving work, and there is definite promise in this new show: potentially resonant themes like grief, longing and the need for forgiveness, a strong core of evocative original music, and an interesting theatrical basis for exploring slippery states like memory, imagination and dreaming.

However, the dream world is a subject rife with cliché, and unless you can marshal a wildly original, unforgettably stylish approach like master of the genre David Lynch, it’s all too easy to slip into cod philosophy, earnest symbolism and New Age therapy. Writer Brad Birch draws the short straw here, as his text is given little room to develop and thus tends towards generalised statements, frustrating in their obliqueness.

Read my full Bargain Theatreland review here

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