All too often as adults, we forget the pleasure that can be had in surrendering ourselves unquestioningly to an experience. Young children have no need of logical explanations and are happy to abandon themselves to the sheer joy of being in the moment.

In Anima, Yael Karavan and her brilliant company of international performers, the Karavan Ensemble, invite you to leave the everyday behind and go with them on a journey, an exploration of light and dark in a “magical feast”. From the moment company members welcome you into the garden of West Hill Hall, carrying a random array of household lights collected from around the city and weaving a long string of red wool around the trees, themselves and audience members, you’re captured in their otherworldly performance.

Inside, the ordinary community hall is transformed into a place of shadows, as the company combines dance, physical theatre, shadow play, mime and the wonderfully atmospheric music of Tristan Shorr, to explore their theme. There’s no clear-cut narrative, yet somehow stories emerge. In one playful and witty scene, four female dancers play out a surreal and competitive game of cards behind fine muslin curtains. In another, an anglepoise lamp stands in for a telephone, while others are transformed variously into a babe in arms, a playful puppy and a wayward vacuum cleaner, as the dancer tries vainly to maintain a sensible “phone” conversation.

Allow yourself to be entranced by this mysterious and luminously beautiful performance. And make sure you begin the adventure by taking the Big Lemon bus from outside the Corn Exchange to get there – it’s all part of the magic. “

The Argus

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