Review: Panic By Improbable Theatre

By Hazel Last edited 118 months ago
Review: Panic By Improbable Theatre

Image by Keith Pattison
Improbable are well known for visual ingenuity having delivered the fantastically received Wolves in the Walls (with National Theatre of Scotland), Theatre of Blood at the National Theatre and Philip Glass' Satyagraha (in association with the ENO). Key members were also part of the creative team behind Shockheaded Peter.

Commissioned by barbicanbite09, this latest show is an oscillatory exploration of the ideas associated with the god of nature Pan, and therefore the concept of Panic. It has been avowedly scaled down with artistic director Phelim McDermott appearing behind a huge wall of crumpled brown paper in spitting distance of the audience as he takes us through a tale of mid-life crisis coated in his belief that he is becoming / has always been Pan.

Assisted by three nymphs (actress chum Angela Clerkin, Improbable's Associate Director Lucy Foster, and ex-aerialist Matilda Leyser) - who set out from the start their real life relationship with Phelim - the casual manner subtly breaks into to moments of high theatricality, some comic, some confessional and some very hard to watch, always returning comfortably to the charismatic McDermott eager to let us in on the next part of his story.

Many horned creatures, shadow puppets, piles of self help books and lots of brown paper is cleverly employed in Panic lending the production a lo-fi dazzle that is hard to resist, though we're not sure if it really came to more than the sum of its parts - or if that matters.

By Claire Cooke

Panic at the Barbican until 16 May. For more information and for tickets, go to the Barbican website.

Last Updated 20 April 2009