Latest Review – The Encounter [HOME, Manchester]

Image by Robbie Jack


HOME, Manchester

Until Saturday 19th March, 2016

In October 1969, the American National Geographic photojournalist Loren McIntyre was dropped deep in the heart of the dense Brazilian Rainforest in an attempt to make first contact with – and prove the existence of – the elusive Mayoruna tribe, rumoured to exist in the remote Javari Valley. Shortly after his arrival he discovered the tribe and tracked them to their dishevelled wood-hut camp, however he then found himself hopelessly lost in the wild depths of the foreboding rainforest.

Stranded and helpless, McIntyre was forced adjust to his new surrounding and new way of life if he had any hope of survival. Though unsure as to whether or not the uncontacted people would accept his alien presence, McIntyre found his perception of things quickly changing, developing a strange, otherworldly relationship with the the tribe chief and communicating with him in a telepathic sense – ‘the other language’ – beyond words and language.

Adapted from Petru Popescu’s novel Amazon Beaming, which grippingly recounts McIntyre’s adventures, this new production devised and created by the pioneering British theatre company, Complicite, and directed and performed by artistic director Simon McBurney, makes for a truly extraordinary two hours of theatre; a tour de force solo performance, ingeniously staged and remarkably well executed by a large company of unseen creative minds.

Making clever use of 3D binaural sound technology – relayed to every audience member through Sennheiser headphones – and using a number of clever technological tricks (which we are kindly let in to at the beginning of the production), McBurney’s complex tale quickly whisks us away from the familiar theatrical setting of HOME and into the depths of the sweaty, unforgiving jungle, conjuring up a vast soundscape using a combination of vocals, body parts and everyday objects (from rustling crisp packets to plastic water bottles).

It is without doubt one of the most fascinating, sensory and immersive pieces of theatre we have seen in recent times. A searing, metaphysical meditation on perception and time, played out across a number of dimensions and timescales, bending what we perceive to be fact and faction and cleverly mirroring McIntyre’s disorientation and heightened sense of perception and awareness with its emphasis on technological innovation.

Running Time: 2 hours and 15-minutes (approx.) (no interval)

Final Performance at HOME, Manchester: Saturday 19th March, 2016.

For more information, and to book tickets, please Click Here.

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