LOD|muziektheater and Red Note Ensemble 7th-9th November, Tramway

If your world was broken down and drab, to what lengths would you go to change it? In Enough Already, the multimedia theatre piece by French composer François Sarhan, that question is explored through a fusion of performance, live music and film.

The play centres around Bobok, an ordinary man in possession of an extraordinary book. Part philosophical tract, part surrealist fantasy, Professor Glaçon’s work is no regular encyclopaedia, and Bobok is its most avid reader. A walking disaster, we witness him trying to get dressed and go outside as his home quite literally falls apart around him. His indoor world is stained and dingy, the outside coldly monochromatic. Only the pages of the encyclopaedia are vibrant, their concepts envisioned in stop motion animation and collage, projected onto a painted screen. The audience see Bobok’s innermost thoughts, his responses to both the fantastical encyclopaedia and the mundane world, as the two begin to overlap.

Sound design is essential to the play’s atmosphere. Musicians from Red Note Ensemble create a soundscape of exotic musical instruments, overlapping and interrupting human voices, and experimental sounds made using everyday objects. It’s an auditory romp which harmonises with the textured effect of the animation and set design.

Cinematically, the fusion of old fashioned silent film and stop motion techniques works surprisingly well. Bobok’s development has clearly been influenced by the slapstick greats – Keaton, Chaplin and Tati – while the collage elements are reminiscent of artist Joseph Cornell. Enough Already even includes a sex scene made using only stop motion footage of inanimate objects. Shouldn’t work? It does.

All this considered, this performance may not be for the casual theatre goer. The visual and conceptual layers, the cacophonous sound – all of which give the play its unique atmosphere – occasionally cross a line, leaving the viewer bewildered and just a tad disturbed. The plot meanders as if lost in unfamiliar streets, and while the execution is beautiful, the idea behind it remains elusive. Enough Already is a truly stimulating experience, but it might well leave you scratching your head.

[Helen Murray]

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