Planet Lem @ Old College
Performed outdoors in the Old College Quad, featuring robots on stilts and roller-skates, spaceship launches, ray-gun battles, engineered humans, and pyrotechnics in the literal sense, Teatr Biuro Podrozy bring the science fiction writer Stanislaw Lem to town.
Essentially Planet Lem is a large scale mime show, and has to be judged as spectacle, and, to cut to the chase, it isn't quite as mind-blowing as you might hope. There are occasional moments of beauty but, it must be said, I was most reminded of stadium rock of the 70's and 80's (think David Bowie or Rick Wakeman) but lacking the excitement of rock stars or the same quality of music. And, put simply, the world of spectacle has moved on since then.
The show does capture elements of Lem's spirit – one that is so different to the US/ Hollywood science fiction tradition – imbued as his work is, with humour, the sense of the absurd, even the ridiculous; and with an omnipresent sense of irony. But the show gives no sense of Lem's complex and literary story-telling - all those tales driven by word-games, for example.
There was a real air of expectation around this show, but the spectacle is only occasionally spectacular enough, and the strangeness; well, it just isn't Lem enough.