Tuesday, April 26, 2011


We saw Oily Cart's show Drum over the Easter weekend. It's very remarkable to watch, or perhaps I should say, experience a piece of theatre which is as inter-cultural as this. I use the term with reservations, of course, but also as a deliberate choice, because this was theatre that was able to do what very little of our work can - to reach beyond the bounds of language and to communicate with people we think we can't talk to - in this case children with autism.

The show didn't have a story, or at least not in the conventional sense. It did, however, have a very powerful emotional journey, from the comparative calm of finding a cushion with a particular design to the mayhem of wildly beating drums, on which the children sat or lay. The emphasis was on the sensory experience - whether that was bright colour, the touch of bubbles and foam, or the sensation of rolling in a drum. There were games with light and music.

It's very beautiful, very thought-through, and very theatrical theatre. And it reaches out in the fullest sense of that much overused term.

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