Thirteen statuesque performers stand on small boxes and sing in harmony. This is a compelling sight and a joy for the ears. Sentinels is told from the perspective of several idols including 'Nelson', ‘Eros' and the 'Cerne Giant'. Each has its own predicament and we uncover their struggles and triumphs.
Babolin Theatre are clearly an impressive group of performers. Giving life to an inanimate and static object could have been a hard task but they perform Richard Fredman's witty, humorous and lyrical script to give the statues soul. The delivery of the narration and dialogue imbues the effigies with character and charm, allowing the audience to be drawn into their world of stone, solitude and torment.
The performers themselves embody the physicality of the statues with painted faces and costumes that evoke rock and bronze. They stalk the theatre space with movement and vigour that calls to mind the impact and grandeur that statues hold. An arrangement of small boxes creates a plinth on which a vain and angry grotesque gargoyle sits. His attitude and delivery underlines the talent of the cast and expresses the succinctness in the script, which frequently raises laughs but avoids becoming a purely comic piece.
Its weakness is the sheer amount of people on stage, occasionally making it difficult to follow just who is who. The cast does, however, equal more than the sum of their parts when they sing as a choir. The lyrics, which are sometimes sang in Latin, are loud, clear and show how well Babolin Theatre work as a group. Sentinels is a well written piece of theatre and an engaging story that feels almost as grand as its content.