Leviathan

Leviathan, inspired by Melville’s Moby Dick is choreographed by James Wilton to a pounding score by Lunatic Soul. As a show, it certainly takes some beating for sheer energy with testosterone-fuelled breakdance, capoeira, contemporary dance and wow-factor, but sometimes less is more.

What started as an exhilarating piece became an exhausting experience.

There are moments of stillness and beauty; in particular, the stunning opening image of the white whale, performed by Sarah Jane Taylor, blowing watery spray into the air, took my breath away. A black-out, then crash, bang, wallop! Dancers flying through the air, throwing themselves at each other as Captain Ahab subdues his crew, all along beating his own breast, mea culpa, mea culpa, (‘my fault’, ‘my fault’) a Catholic ritual acknowledging responsibility.

Captain Ahab’s dark obsession with pursuing the white whale is cleverly given Freudian significance by casting a slim, graceful girl as the white whale. In Moby Dick the whale is male, of course. Sarah Jane Taylor’s undulating body, arching her back and subsiding, beautifully suggests a whale’s appearance above the waves, cresting then rolling beneath the surface to dive below, her nonchalance a perfect foil to Ahab’s grimness. His wounding by the whale is portrayed by his leg’s entanglement in the very hawsers used to try and catch the whale. Obviously harpoons were not going to work on stage and this was a convincing substitution.

Unfortunately, the piece becomes repetitive and the overall effect is tedious. An attempt to lift the mood is made when the crew are transformed into a school of white whales but it nullifies the impact of the single white whale and went on far too long. Much tightening is needed throughout the show. Overall, the music is too loud, there is an over-reliance on fight sequence and what started as an exhilarating piece became an exhausting experience. 

Reviews by Stephanie Green

Festival Theatre

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★★★★
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★★★★
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★★
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★★★★
Quaker Meeting House

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

Presented by the award-winning James Wilton Dance, Leviathan follows Ahab, a ship's captain hell-bent on capturing the white whale: Moby Dick, a beast as vast and dangerous as the sea itself, yet beautiful beyond imagining. Ahab’s crew are drawn into the unhinged charisma of their captain, blindly following him towards almost certain destruction! Featuring a cast of six and Wilton’s unique super-athletic dance style, Leviathan will have you on the edge of your seat gasping for air under the sheer ferocity of movement. Leviathan is man versus nature; be careful what you fish for.