THEATRE REVIEW: Institute ★★★★

Bristol Old Vic
Tuesday 26th - Saturday 30th March 2019

From the acclaimed physical theatre company Gecko, Institute is a production set in wherever you headspace feels the piece is surrounded, whether this may be a hospital, an office, or an asylum. Just like with some of their previous work, Gecko never make their end result the most clear, but that invites the audience in a beneficial way to create their own perception on what they take away, and Institute is no exception.

I have to go ahead and say that I thoroughly enjoyed this production, which made me instantly laugh and connect with the characters in a heartbeat. Chris Swain and Amit Lahav's lighting design brought atmosphere and stunning moments through that made many of the audience members surrounding myself laugh and gasp in awe, which could easily be said again for Lahav and Rhys Jarman's vision in set design, with towering cabinets hiding some spectacular secrets inside, just like the files themselves which brought huge verbal appreciation from the audience very early on, and had myself verbally gasp when the cabinets revealed their true hidden features.

The most inspiring part of the production was how fresh the production felt, considering its first performances were around five years ago in 2014. The way the performers moved so effortlessly along with David Price's stunning music and Nathan Johnson's sound design was truly breathtaking, with a particular trust fall leaving the audience sat bolt right in their seats with fascination. It's a hugely heroic and testament to the skill of everyone involved to be able to produce with such strength the moves involved to tell a story so vividly and precise.

For a show with so little definate understanding of the themes and flow of story, to be able to find a way in which we were able to connect and feel drawn into the story just shows that Gecko remains to this day a company for all ages and walks of life, not truly having to be a theatre or dance inspired person to be able to enjoy the work that Gecko choose to produce on stage around the world!

Overall, Gecko's institute is awe-inspiring, defiant and a compelling piece of theatre, one that feels apt for any audience and totally fresh contrary to the productions long history.


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