If you want a piece that pushes your expectations about form, modernity and your innermost desires, Our Carnal Hearts is for you.
Part choir practice, part pagan ritual, Mars guides us through the ceremony: that combines service, sermon – including audience participation – and storytelling. These extracts and songs are interwoven with a loose framing device telling a story of a fairy who comes to visit you and grants one wish. The catch: whatever you wish for, your neighbour will receive twice over. It sneakily and deftly prys open the lid to the place we keep our shameful bits.
The rite itself is deeply engaging, layering music on the poetic visceral script. It was a treat listening to the text, which beautifully blends together mundane normality and phantasmal spectacle. What works really well is the sense of the whole piece building wonderfully, slowly, stickily to a triumphant celebration of honesty in envy. This might be the first time I've been genuinely intrigued by the input from the audience. The way the performers and audience interacted was fascinating. Interaction was slipped in unexpectedly, but also made the audience feel totally safe, which is quite an achievement in a show about carnal desires.
The piece plays with the form itself, it is an incredibly self-aware production, talking openly about where we are and why we are here together. They have worked hard to ensure the show resonates with the performance space itself. Introducing the smells – particularly coffee - onto the music and words, to gain that added layer to build up the atmosphere.
If you would be up for an interactive Welcome to Nightvale style blend of normality and scalpel-sharp interrogation of our innermost terrors – brought to life by the great voices of a choral quartet this is the show for you. If you want a piece that pushes your expectations about form, modernity and your innermost desires, Our Carnal Hearts is for you.