nytheatre.com review by Eric Winick
In its program notes, the London-based Perpetual Motion Theatre lists
the many contexts of its performance piece Perfect, "a
fragmentary reflection on the word ‘perfect.’" The list includes
"dreams, fairytales, pop stars, Zen, idol worship, romantic illusion,
body paranoia, relationships, domesticity, childhood"—on and on. And
while all may indeed be touched on somewhere within the mishmash that is
Perfect, Emi Slater’s well-intentioned yet haphazard production
never seems to coalesce into a cohesive whole.
August 15, 2002
Digital video, movement, monologues, audience participation, poetry, song, sign language, music—it’s all there, from Phillippe Spall’s eerie, Satchmo-inflected "What a Wonderful World" to Karin Heberlein’s fascinating mirror-image dance, an effect aided immeasurably by the stunning video work of Oogoo Maia. The questions remain: What does it all mean? And how are we supposed to feel when it’s over?
The trouble with Perfect, it seems, is that the piece strives to be about so many things that it never quite achieves true poignancy. Sure, there’s a great deal to be said about love, but must it be crammed in alongside "social insecurity, achievement, self-help, physical (dis)ability, and lunacy"? Yes, there’s merit in assembling a Peter Brook-ian company of international performers, and attempting to forge a common language of sound, movement, and gesture—if the company has something to say. Yes, there are gorgeous stage pictures, many of which consist simply of bodies in motion—but what they’re in the service of, I couldn’t say.
Perfect’s ensemble (which also includes Toby Hughes and Leticia Santa Fi) is a dedicated and attractive bunch, no question; I only wish they’d focused their energies on a more manageable word, like "Coherent."