Father Figurine, the first full-length production by Body Politic, explores how the relationship between a father and son is shaped by the father's struggle to accept the deterioration of his mental health. It is a releasing piece of theatre, combining dance and drama to explore this pressing issue.
The tensions of this relationship are illustrated through fantastic choreography, which embraces contemporary styles: the characters fall about the stage like puppets and are overturned beetles, images echoed in the emotional beats of the play. Music, radio and clips of interview-like dialogue supported the dance and elevated its emotional tension. The modern mixing of this soundtrack was entertaining.
A universality to the father-son relationship was presented through tiny details: the folding napkins, the holding of each other during the dance and painfully repetitive conversations. However, this relationship was not pushed to its full potential with emotional beats, that were occasionally inconsistent; opportunities to emotionally dissect the characters were missed whilst other moments pushed on melodrama. Individual sequences of the play were emotionally powerful, helped by the fantastic music and dance sequences, but poor pacing unbalanced the overall effect.
Realism, music, dance and poetic sequences moved in and out of each other, sometimes a little jaggedly. The culmination of music, dance and dialogue working in sequence was powerful and could have been utilised more. However, the overall production did a good job at portraying the instability of the characters.
Despite structural flaws the piece was an important insight into the minds of a generation of men who could not, and would not, open up about their own mental health. A minimalist and moving drama which showcases the talents of the team behind it, the play ultimately leaves one satisfied and looking forward to what Body Politic may produce in the future.
Edited by Evangeline Stanford, Digital Editor