This is a strange and moving piece of physical theatre, high-octane and cerebral.
Inventiveness, particularly in the use of space and set, is the project’s strongest suit. Summerhall’s Upper Church is an ideal venue; a very large stage provides the actors with the space they need to carry out their energetic routines and gives an enormous structure made of bin bags the room it requires to breathe (incidentally, this sculptured set is beautifully put together and would not feel out of place in an art gallery).
Romantika, the company behind The Crossing Place, describe their work as being, in part, visual art and this is an accurate statement. The three movers – Chris Mawson, Michael Blundell-Lithco and Ciaran John, under the direction of Johan Bark – are always alert to the shapes and forms their bodies create, individually and as a group. An especially engaging routine involving a bag of white powder is one of the show’s highlights, and manages to tread the fine line between pure aesthetics and performative relevance. This quality is present for much of the show; the piece rarely strays so far into the abstract that relevance feels lacking. However, it does have a tendency, particularly in the middle section, to slow down. It is not in pace or energy that the performance slows – indeed, the opposite is true – but in creativity. Several of the central passages misjudge the weighting of the considered versus the frantic, and sometimes the movement oversteps the boundary between interestingly violent energy and an excessively macho power-play.
Yet in spite of these occasional faults, The Crossing Place is accomplished. This is a strange and moving piece of physical theatre, high-octane and cerebral.