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Prelude to a Number by Geddes Loom at The Lowry, 13/02/2014 – Review

Last night, as an early Valentine’s present, my lovely partner took me to The Lowry in Manchester to see an exciting, engaging new ‘show’ by Geddes Loom entitled ‘Prelude for a Number’. I was impressed by his choice *applause* it contained Spoken Word – which I like, Maths! – that he likes, and Music – which we both like.

In an extended hour we were all transported through three narratives through the pattern of The Golden Ratio. I say all because it was clear in the eyes of the collective Geddes Loom that their words still transported them with the audience. It might have just been me, but I felt a vindication that these artists were allowed to blend and fuse the genre’s of poetry, narrative, music, lighting, staging and acting without the limitations that come when you work in one specific genre.

 In fractured borders we were presented with snap shots in the life of each character –  Tessa, Leon and Matt. These narratives crossed over at points when The Golden Ratio returned to their story. Each narrative was equally engaging, feeding from the tension created in the last narrative. Between them was a river of music that made a bridge between the spoken sections. 

The music was repetitive, surging like a tide, building upon itself with live audio looping that made you feel very much a part of the creation of the production – I was reminded at points of Karl Jenkins’ Cantilena. The vocals of Léonie Higgins and Ben Mellor highlighted the diversity of voice. Breaking up long sections of narrative with more voice may seem counterproductive, but the subtle’s of change were accentuated, with the backing of Dan Steele. A word about Dan Steele, the multi-instrumentalist, the very presence of so many instruments (including Higgins Cello) pushed the point that we were in the presence of artist / creatives. 

                      The performance itself was on a very understated set, filled with mathematical blackboard scribbles, which gives the impression of you sitting within a work in progress, someone finding the point that Fibonacci’s sequence, the Golden Ratio or  Golden Pyramids intersected to create moments of beauty. This accentuated one of the closing ideas – that anything is there if you look hard enough. For example, were we seeing those points in the narratives because we were looking for them? Do we see them in the objects around us because we were looking for them? and if they aren’t actually there is an object still as beautiful? A very powerful and different line of investigation. 

There are moments of multi-media projection that work brilliantly. Both Higgins and Mellor interchange between the characters, from the mains like Tessa to fleeting characters like Matt’s parents. The projection gives the audience a nudge into the particular narrative strand being played out at that time. 

There is a lot to be said for the grey area between genre’s and this is where the piece shines.

The theme of The Golden Ratio and the Fibonacci sequence was a perfect link between the genre’s. Numbers are a major factor in music and the rhythm of the spoken word, the music mixed with the lighting and the lighting with the stage design. *sigh* I could go on for hours decoding and deconstructing the piece, but it really is in the accumulation of all of those elements that the show comes into it’s own. 

To get more of a feel for the show watch this!

If you didn’t catch it yesterday the show is on again at The Lowry tonight!   

You can find the Geddes Loom on facebook!

They are currently running a fundraiser for an album of the music on Indiegogo.

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