Monumental at The Playhouse Theatre is one of the more difficult to review performances so far at this year’s Edinburgh International Festival as it is a piece of work bringing together the music of post rock music collective “Godspeed You! Black Emperor”, innovative dance collective “Holy Body Tattoo” and film (directed by William Morrison).
I say that this is not an easy show to review as it is a collective performance of different arts blending into one that really needs to be experienced rather than described, and unless you are present, nothing can really describe the sheer power of the music by “Godspeed You! Black Emperor” turned up high in volume and reverberating through the theatre itself. The fact that the musicians offer no explanation for their music, have no singer, reluctance to be photographed or give any interviews just adds to the atmosphere...everyone has to make to some level their own interpretations of what they are hearing and watching.
How to describe the dance...again difficult as this performance is exploring so many areas of what it is to be an individual and also part of a larger collective society. All of our dancers start on blocks that can be represented when lit up as part of a skyscraper backdrop to a large modern city, statues on a block, or an individual in their own protective space. Much of the performance takes place upon these individual blocks.
Along the way with a backdrop of statements and film projected in front of the always in shadows musicians we explore how we as individuals interact with one another, others around us and the industrial environment. What do we leave behind as we go about our daily lives, aggression, de-sensitisation to the plight of others around us, collective belonging and rejection by the collective and many other things that we just let pass by us daily without thinking about it too much are all explored through dance, music and visuals.
Review by Tom King