Identity, Turbine Theatre | Review


Identity
Turbine Theatre
Reviewed on Wednesday 11th March 2020 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★

Described as a "controversial and captivating masterpiece", Identity endeavours to showcase "society's negative perceptions" and highlight that being true to yourself and owning your insecurities is a way to thrive. With the constant pressures perpetually hurled at us via social media, as well as those around us, it's always important to be reminded that we're not alone in our struggles. This show certainly does that, and it's exciting and innovative in its approach.

Caitlin Elizabeth Taylor opens the piece by battling with a Polaroid camera, continually reaching and then drawing herself away from it. It's from this moment that her battle between hiding and owning her identity begins. Having composed some of the music and spoken word, it's clear from Caitlin's fierce performance that this piece is special to her. She boldly throws herself around and strikes a great balance between aggressive stress and introspective peace. 

Whilst Caitlin does an excellent job of leading the show, it's during the ensemble (made up of Callum Sterling, Tinovimbanashe Sibanda, Marina Climent and Luke Cartwright) moments when it really comes to life. The interpretive and super sharp dance numbers are effective and emotive, even if they are a little aloof at times. Visually the way they pulse and leap around stage is exciting, but the use of sound adds another layer. It isn't just the movement that's synchronised but every breath feels as though it's coming from one entity. Equally, this unison makes the moments where the ensemble fall out, even more effective. Christopher Tendai has done a great job of incorporating contemporary dance, with Afro beats to create something which looks and feels stirring.

As well as Caitlin's music, the motion is also accompanied by the incredibly soulful sounds of Sam.G (aka Shekinah Mcfarlane). Her beautifully expressive music is evocative by itself, but when combined with the choreography, a really strong narrative is created.

Over an hour, we are taken on a journey of discovery. This piece finds a solid middle-ground between in your face expression and pared back simplicity. This is in part, thanks to Charlotte McAdam's lighting which is effective throughout; especially during striking strobe light moments where Caitlin's character contorts against the black backdrop.  

Thanks to the killer cast and evident love for the work which is engrained in every moment, this is a great show to experience purely to start up a new conversation about being you. A very promising production, Identity is sure to fire up anyone who watches it and would be a great piece to showcase in schools as a subtle reminder to be a little kinder.

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