A creature resembling a woman is wrapped in plastic sheets, her eyes are ablaze with the sort of curiosity you see from a cat, but there’s a darkness there too. Wrapped in a bow, you’d think she was a present, a buy-your-own-vampire. The first ten minutes of La Donna è Mobile by Remote Control Theatre are a chilling and haunting affair, where you genuinely question if you’re going to leave the performance in one piece. This woman, creature-like and vampire-like, spits blood and bounds about the space with a gaggle of onlookers documenting her movements and interactions. In the Summerhall Demonstration Room, with seats that tower above a clinical performance space, it’s easy to see how this could be deemed a performance experiment.
For the rest of La Donna è Mobile we see women who are chaotic in their release of screams and energy, which bounds around the space. There’ are some striking images put together: a woman with antlers attached to her hands, a cloth that looks like a heart or baby is extracted from a woman and beaten repeatedly. You could easily dismiss this as an exercise of heightened performance devices, but with every eye-flutter and sound uttered from the ensemble there’s purpose and a haunting image that is left in its place. There’s a relentless energy and whilst it isn’t apparent through narrative or theme to give an easy ride for the spectator, the visceral experience is breathtaking.
It’s a shame that Remote Control Theatre didn’t with its Total Theatre Award Nomination when there is so much undeniable power and promise in its work. They’re the first company I’ve seen to use nudity with a sense of power like a punch to the gut, and where there might be a missing connection between the source material and the work received, there’s an undeniable beauty and power.
Originally published on A Younger Theatre.