Edinburgh Festivals Magazine

Review: Void at Summerhall

Review: Void at Summerhall
★★★★

Void is a gut punch of a piece with some incredible original dance from Mele Broomes, exploring themes of race, womanhood, belonging, and diaspora, to name but a view.

Void is a scream of feminine rage and is both visually stunning and uncomfortable, using projection and glitch art to support Broomes in some of the most original and stark dance performance Ive ever come across. Nothing is superfluous in this modern myth, and the use of space, light and costumes speaks to the calibre of the development of the piece.

Billed as a re-imagining of J. G Ballards cult classic Concrete Island, and drawing parallels from Stefan Harney and Fred Motens The Undercommons, Void explores unbelonging and blackness in modern society. As the audience were given programmes exploring this reimagining before the show began, I found myself waiting for more connections to Ballards work than the premise alone. The piece stands alone, and does not require the pontification on theme that the programme provides. Rather, this attached narrative distracted from the piece, taking me out of pace as I struggled to find links which weren’t there.

As a piece looking to explore blackness and exclusion, Void is a triumph, combining emotion and innovation to create something riotous and beautiful, but as a reimagining it falls short. The thematic reversal of protagonist is inspired, and especially relevant today, but to drive home a connection so firmly to an audience seemed unnecessary. The work is strong enough to stand alone. 

A truly innovative and compelling work which I will be flashing back to every time I drive on the motorway at night.

Void, Summerhall, until 26 Aug, 7.20pm