Arts Review: Park

Jasmin Vardimon, Theatre Royal, 28th January

What better place to explore the effects of current socio-political trends than a local, public park?

The London based Jasmin Vardimon Company first created Park in 2004 and has returned a decade later for a UK tour of the performance. Combining a mix of theatrical movement choreography with a mix-media installation experience, Park analyses the multifaceted complexities of human nature and the sharply opposing concepts of our modern world. Here dance, movement, dialogue, projection and music work simultaneously and the employment of these varied forms feels justified and necessary.

The characters re-appropriate the space which outside corporate interests aim to steal from them. This is a place shared by the young and the old; the able and disabled; a space for multiculturalism and the visibility of poverty. When the generic man-in-suit enters declaring plans for ‘mass investment’ and ‘regeneration’ and his plans for restaurants and casinos to develop, his presence is instantly in opposition to the characters already on stage: the homeless man with his sleeping bag, the Eastern European woman with her many, heavy shopping bags, the Parkour street performers who swing from walls and lampposts. The area is eventually claimed by investors who block access to the open area with a distinctly unsubtle, orange plastic cording. Yet it is not the material foundations of the park which hold the cord in place but the people themselves who stand defiantly in resistance against the prevalence of this social and racial cleansing.

It appears that the issues raised in Park feel as curiously similar in 2015 as they did a decade previously.

[Tara Fitzpatrick – @TFitzpatrick25]

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