The show that ate itself

In The Beginning Was The End – dreamthinkspeak @ National Theatre, until 30 March 2013

In the beginning we are full of a nervous expectation. In the end we are full of a crushing disappointment. In the middle we find a soufflé – an indulgent and elaborate work that looks more and more underwhelming as time goes by.

It is difficult to describe how many things are wrong with dreamthinkspeak’s attempt to weave inspiration from Leonardo Da Vinci’s ‘A Cloudburst of Material Possessions’ into a multi-stranded meditation on a world at a supposed crux of developmDa Vinci's Cloudburst - a work by a true geniusent and chaos.

It is difficult to describe because that would have entailed dreamthinkspeak feeling it was necessary to share any of their ideas with the audience rather than thinking that a hotchpotch collection of site-specific installations mixed with cod-philosophy and an imagined future that seemed startlingly reminiscent of a mid-1980’s episode of Tomorrows World was an acceptable substitute.

At the end of the audience’s ‘journey’ (even the word makes me cringe) you are handed a leaflet outlining the thinking behind what you have just seen. It is quite a useful addition if for no other reason than for the fact that it demonstrates that the cringingly pretentious claptrap that you have spent the last 70 minutes watching seem just as cringingly pretentious when written down.

‘John the Baptist…seems to be ever present. Is he pointing the way to The Second Coming, to our death, to the end-of-world, or is he a false prophet who leads us on then abandons us to an uncertain fate? Does the slightly strange man obsessed with lemons have the answers? He seems to be dreaming of a new kind of Eden. But is it a real or a comprised paradise? The final installation mixes the organic with rudimentary technology but is it really the way forward?”

Well, when given lemons…

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