Lucid’, a devised piece about dreaming from theatre company New Public, is a delightful and highly entertaining show that takes its audience on a greatest hits tour of all things that live inside the world of dreams.
The performance begins in darkness, with the familiar voice of Siri explaining a dream to the audience. As the voice faded other familiar noises entered the space, those of the many choices of alarm clocks we have in the modern world. Each member of the company took a noise on, using their skills in physical theatre to embody the movement of the sound. And so began the style of the piece: offering the audience recognisable aspects of the waking and dreaming life we live and representing them in entertaining ways before turning them on their heads.
This style was highly successful. From manspreading on the tube to having to sing with your trousers down in a nightmare to counting sheep, the audience were always in on the joke, but what New Public did so well was to take the ordinary and turn it into something extraordinary. Little touches in sequences were what took ‘Lucid’ from being entertaining to impressive. For example, a sleepwalking sequence in which one of the female artists was blindfolded showcased extraordinary acrobatic skills from all of the members of the company. Throwing the performer around and using sheets to signify everything from a bed to a fridge you felt like Pina Bausch would have approved.
There are too many moments of brilliance to fit into one review and I feel it may be spoiling the fun to mention them all but the finale of the piece was so well crafted it has to be described: that of the ‘perfect dream.’ We watch as one of the male members of the company falls asleep and slips into an egotistical paradise. From winning an oscar to saving a damsel’s life to running first in a marathon, every possible fantasy of the male mind was put in front of us to enormous enjoyment from the audience.
As charming as the piece was it would be a disservice to describe it as such as the charm came from intelligent observations of the human mind and the way these observations were staged for an audience could only have been as successful as they were through the medium of devised physical theatre. The best art is always ambiguous and the nature of devising allows for complete madness to be created and then sculpted into something more digestible. New Public have found the right balance between the two; a little mad and very tasty.