Death becomes the Pachamamas +++==
It's always tricky to deal with grief on stage. By its nature, it is an emotion that comes after the fact, making an audience feel it has missed out on the main event. It cannot be resolved in the way any other dramatic conflict is resolved.
This three-hander by the Pachamamas (not to be confused with Cora Bissett's similarly named company) sidesteps the problem in two ways. The first is to focus not so much on death itself, but on the passage of time and the many moments in life when two people can grow apart. It considers the conflicting values of independence and isolation as it pieces together the relationship between a Finnish mother living in South America and her English-educated daughter.
The second way is to treat the subject as a physical theatre cabaret. Lorraine Sutherland's production is inventive and impressionistic, jumping from song, to choreographed movement to dream-like surrealism. The results are uneven but the approach gives variety to a potentially predictable scenario. Even though Emergence doesn't really have an end (what end could there be?), it is a spirited and diverting show. (Mark Fisher)
Underbelly, 226 0000, until 28 Aug (not 16, 23), 11.20am, £8.50–£9 (£7.50–£8).
© Mark Fisher 2011
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