This is a very weird play. Its writing is full of clichés and at times feels very derivative, and yet there is something utterly compelling about the production. Despite being somewhat childishly conceived, Light Killer is still able to flit between the poetic, the hilarious and the visually beautiful.
The originality does not extend to the writing. The entire play is a patchwork of tropes.
The central theme of light shines both through the script and the production’s aesthetic. A floor-level light casts imposing shadows of the actors onto the back wall, their shape distorted by the low angle. A hand mirror is used for precise redirection of light onto specific body parts. Ultraviolet light is used to transform the actors, who wear UV sensitive face paint, into different characters. As a visual spectacle, Light Killer is captivating, and lighting designer Manuel Frenda deserves high praise for his creativity.
However, this originality does not extend to the writing. The entire play is a patchwork of tropes: there is a dichotomy between light and body reflective of body and soul; a reserved and intellectual man who falls in love with a melodramatic and sensual woman; a Faustian pact; a dystopian setting which the characters do not themselves understand; and a mysterious god-like figure referred to as ‘The Greek’. Hotcal (Adele Raes) and Mikail (Alan Alpenfelt) wade through this soup of clichés, themselves acting and speaking in clichés. Whilst at moments the script takes a turn for the strikingly poetic, and Hotcal’s breaking of the fourth wall is done with a remarkable tenderness, the writing is heavy handed for the most part.
This somewhat clumsy script is somewhat clumsily handled by the actors. Delivery is often unconvincing and flat. By contrast, the two excel in the physical realisation of their characters, and are far more expressive with their bodies than their voices. Their use of clown-like dancing to portray the evil ‘light killers’ is both impressive and wonderfully comical.
Light Killer is a unique production with huge creative potential. It has aspects which are truly outstanding, but is as equally riddled with flaws.