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By Belinda Otas


Evening Standard rating  


Friday, May 9, 2008.


Keeping in tradition with its 2008 season, the Barbican is exposing theatre goers to diverse works from different backgrounds and cultures.


As you step into the confines of the Pit theatre, you hear the gentle lapping of waves and the mesmerising background music gets your attention. Produced by The Conch, Vula means Moon in Fiji, and is a production which aims to show the relationship of the people with the water that surrounds them.


The stage is transformed into a pool of water and the production starts off with a dancing mat. You are perplexed, wondering ‘how did they do that?’ The cast members come on stage at different points, using dance, puppetry, music and vigorous energy to interpret different rituals of the Island, from the use of mats to flowers to illustrate the relationship between water and the women of the island. Water has never once played such a symbolic role during a stage production.


Highly visual, Vula evokes a mystical understanding of nature and has its entertaining moments and is deeply entrancing. This is largely due to the background music which is seductive and hypnotic, and has the potential to put you in meditational mode.


However, you can count the number of words spoken on stage and that is where Vula falls short. While the relationship between the women and water is clearly established, it fails to tell you the stories and experiences they hold dearly about that relationship.


Picture of Ngapaki Emery By John McDermot


Showing at the Barbican until Saturday

Tel: 020 7638 8891


© 2008


Belinda Otas is a London-based freelance journalist and The New Black Magazine's features and theatre editor. She can be reached at belindaotas@thenewblackmagazine.com


Please e-mail comments to comments@thenewblackmagazine.com




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