MOVE – Traverse Theatre, Silverknowes Beach

Written & Directed by Julia Taudevin

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Finding ourselves in the position of uprooting our most valuable treasures, our families, and moving them across the treacherous darkness of the oceans is a concept many of us will never fully grasp and mercifully never experience. This inaugural show from Disaster Plan, a new company from writer and director Julia Taudevin and dramaturg Kieran Hurley, MOVE takes inspiration from keening rituals to tell the tales of five women and generations of survival.

Staged on the greying beaches of Silverknowes, MOVE compels audiences to open themselves to the elements, channelling a fraction of the agony, strife and loss involved with migration over the seas and the quest to find a place of self once arriving. Taudevin’s lyrical writing plays directly into the folk and choral score of the production, with precise vocals which convey volumes despite any language barriers. There are ebbs and flows with the tide, with some sequences striking harsher than others.

The production, particularly in the conviction of Helen Katamba’s performance, is masterful in its depicition of motherhood and the experience of migration for women. A mother who struggles with the difficulties of learning English, a young woman rubbing the scars on her wrist – these characters share a multitude of connections despite their different backgrounds. These five women (Katamba, Taudevin, Nerea Bello, Mairi Morrison and Beldina Odenyo) transform the Scottish landscape into an ethereal plane that transcends the corners of the earth and morphs Gaelic and gospel into a recognisable symphony of overarching human emotion.

MOVE could never evoke the grandeur of scale and raw nature of the sea if it were confined to the limitations of traditional staging. The brilliance of Catherine Barthram’s costume and Nia Wood’s stage management have contributed enormously to the staging of an undoubtedly marvellous production, but its the openness of Silverknowes beach as a location which allows the story to return into the lapping waves, which births as much life as it claims in a poignant and resonating final image.

In-person run ended; MOVE is available on demand from August 24th to September 8th via traverse.co.uk, pay-what-you-can (£8 minimum) here.

Review published for The Skinny

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