Justin Shoulder, Carrion,Warwick Arts Centre, Warwick University, Coventry , Oct 15 only.
An air of uncertainty was palpable as the audience slowly came around to the idea that they were still in an auditorium at the conclusion of Justin Shoulder’s absorbing performance.
Strange, alien, and bizarre, but also at times gentle and touched with humour, this mesmerising production may leave some scratching their heads, but is challenging in the way good theatre should be.
The performance seems to be an exploration of nature and evolution as Justin (the sole performer) uses his body, hand-crafted costumes, and prosthetics to hatch, morph, and shape-shift into otherworldly entities, animating them with unique characteristics and gestures. The results are as weird as they are captivating.
There are some magnificent displays of skill and ingenuity on show in this performance which come from some thoughtful choreography, and also from Justin’s expert manipulation of himself and his surroundings, in particular when he envelops himself in the set to transform into an alien entity, animating the form with strange pulsing movements, in a truly mesmerising scene.
There is a great deal to praise in the ambition and authenticity of Carrion, and anyone with an interest in physical theatre and unique, alternative performance art will certainly find lots to admire in the one hour performance. However, due to the abstract nature of the piece, it may not chime with everybody, and there is the capacity for some cries of “I didn’t get it”. This, however, is the domain of challenging theatre and, if nothing else, Justin Shoulder and Carrion will get you talking.
(Carrion was performed at the Arts Centre as part of the Birmingham Fierce Festival)