Machines for Living @ Zoo
Superbly tight and well balanced performances from Let Slip make Machines for Living a great piece of physical theatre. The synergy of the actors, India Banks, Frode Gjerlow, Nessa Norich and David Ralfe, takes this simple and economic show, minimal and bare, like the tower block structures it considers, up to the next level.
The choreographed gestures are strong, geometric and visual. Actor-devised, the piece is based on the post war architects who saw high-rise flats as the way to tackle the pressing need for housing. These designers were influenced by the ideas of the Swiss architect Le Corbusier who was fired by the challenge of designing radically new buildings for the modern machine age.
The company touches on the vanity of architects and their distance from the real needs of people. The professional devotion to fashionable whims and the cost cutting construction systems, which made this housing even worse than the original designs, is also commented on. The ultimately tragic effects of it are made very clear. Perhaps other aspects of the issue, such as corruption, could also have been explored but, all in all, a well structured, interesting and very well produced show.