Review of Gecko Theatre Company’s Missing

Caris Baker, Lower Sixth, reviews Missing, a play by Amit Lahav and the Gecko Theatre Company.

Thursday 13th September 2018: three years and six months to the day since flames engulfed the Grand Hall at Battersea Arts Centre – a space that had been home to the cast, crew, costumes, and heart of Missing, by Gecko Theatre Company. That same day, the Sixth Form Theatre Studies pupils and teachers traveled to London on a trip to watch the very same show: rebuilt, resilient, and wackier than ever.

Gecko is a highly stylised Physical Theatre company which the Sixth Form are studying this year. Their work aims to be Total Theatre – a unified (or total) work of art in which all elements work together to achieve an overall effect on the audience. These elements include music, voice, movement and spectacle. Despite having read reviews describing the play as “breathtaking and frightening” with “jaw dropping choreography”, I had never seen any of Gecko’s work before, and I was definitely not prepared for what awaited me.

The play is focused around a central character, Lily, supported by an ensemble of actors who played her husband, parents, friends, and colleagues. It is an exploration of memory and identity through the recollection of her childhood, leading onto her parents’ divorce, and then the breakdown of her own marriage years later. The plot is led by an unnamed, nomadic character that recognises the emptiness in her life, the sense that she is missing something, and in the opening scene of the play tells Lily, in Italian, that he is going to “heal her soul.” It then goes on to address with painful veracity the trauma of her parents’ dysfunction, and the challenges of growing up with a split heritage, and feeling isolated from the place that you call home. In order to understand every word of the play each audience member would have had to be fluent in English, Italian, German, and Spanish; however it effortlessly manages to be a deeply relatable and personal piece of theatre for every person. I came away genuinely moved by the agonising excellence of Gecko’s show, and every pupil was buzzing with ideas of how to include what we had just seen in our work in the future. We were lucky enough to have a question and answer session with the cast afterwards, including the Artistic Director Amit Lahav, who shed some light on his personal connection with the storyline and how the final piece was crafted over the last three years.

Over the next few months we have several further exciting productions coming up that are a bit closer to home in The North Wall including, The Mountaintop which is a depiction of Martin Luther King’s final night, previously running at the Young Vic Theatre.

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