GUIDED TOURS: Slight Possession/The Detour
Gate Theatre, London W11
Opened 15 January, 1992

Talking Tongues are making the transition from student company without toning down the forceful idiosyncrasy of their work. Both parts of this double-bill demonstrate their perspective of eschewing the logic of narrative linearity while continuing to speak eloquently to currents within the audience's subconscious. In Slight Possession (which won 1991's Guardian award at Edinburgh), we are made privy to the piecemeal dissection of a couple's relationship, its power imbalances and personal politicking. The Detour follows two women on an apocalyptic odyssey across the planet, collecting and consuming as they go.

Both pieces are stark and physical: Kim Walter's repeated dives off a ladder draw audible gasps from the audience. Rachel Weisz gives a disturbingly clear vision of semi-deliberate manipulation and the damaging fallout from excessive self-assurance; the slighter, frailer-seeming Walter's collaboration and acquiescence force her into sometimes Munch-like contortions. Guided Tours is far from the mainstream of Gate presentations, and will no doubt irritate some and elicit mistaken accusations of self-indulgence. For those willing to stake some emotional composure, however, these two plays form a powerful, sometimes bewildering but consistently haunting collage.

Written for City Limits magazine.

Copyright Ian Shuttleworth; all rights reserved.

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