Helen Herbertson @ AIT Arts Space
3:30pm, Sat 9 Mar 2002
Short Review: (Tripping the) Light Fantastic
As the house lights dim, a dark figure dashes out into the centre of the assembled set and lights a gas flame. The orange flame flickers in the darkness, creating a natural strobe effect; then, as the flame slowly dies to just a pinprick, the audience holds its collective breath until the inevitable occurs – the flame is extinguished, leaving us silent in a Stygian blackness.
A faint backlight picks out a figure in the background – was she there all along? – and slowly, the mechanical shuffling of “Delirium” begins. Helen Herbertson and Trevor Patrick produce a refined, minimalistic presence in the subdued lighting, swimming in light when it is afforded, hiding in the shadows when not.
The set is a masterpiece – holes in the floor open up, exposing bright orange light and smoke to the audience, creating rivulets of fire about which the dancers carefully step. Light smoke also helps create a wonderful pyramid-type effect, as planar lighting reaches from the roof to the floor. The piece is scored to a tense, brooding rumblefest, ranging from quiet dripping to an intense thunderstorm.
But make no mistake, the real star of the show here is the lighting. Herbertson and Partick play second fiddle to Ben Cobham’s staggeringly wonderful work in this visual extravaganza.