Arts Review: Al Seed: Oog

Arches, 30th October – 1st November

Al Seed: Oog. A title that doesn’t say very much unless you’re familiar with Al Seed’s work. The tagline offered on the Arches website doesn’t offer much more contextual help – ‘The end of a war, a locked cellar, Oog…

Having never seen any of Al Seed’s work prior I was intrigued but sceptical. Well, Al Seed made a believer out of me. The Scotsman wrote that “Al Seed can captivate an audience without leaving his seat.” This is not only true but is also a massive understatement. Without saying a single word Al Seed manages to grip me like I haven’t been gripped in years. Wrapped in a greatcoat with only the top of his head peering out he succeeds, for several minutes, to keep me enthralled.

Words cannot do justice to what Al Seed achieves as a live performer. The precision, the strength, the raw emotion behind his every action is forcefully stunning, and before and I know it my 50 minutes of watching him move are done. And I just wanted to watch him do it again…

As I write this I can’t help but run over the piece again and again in my mind, wishing I could have him repeat those little moments that left you painfully aware of every little twitch, every movement of every muscle as he flows incessantly from action to action to action.

It’s exhausting to watch and once it’s all over you can’t help but wonder what effect this had on Al Seed himself. But for every moment of the performance I cease to be aware that I am sitting as part of an audience watching a piece of theatre. I am invested in an experience that leaves me shaken and afraid. It’s not often that I can say that a piece of theatre leaves me feeling that way, but Al Seed does just that. I can’t begin to explain what exactly he did and frankly I don’t want to: Al Seed must be seen to be believed.

[Andrew Scade]

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