By 59 Productions and Rambert
Mayfield, 5 July 2019
In Italo Calvino’s fantastical novel Marco Polo describes various imaginary cities to the great Kublai Khan.
That is what happens here, pretty much. Following their dialogue, Rambert’s dancers bring those cities, or rather the forms of life which they embody, to the stage. It seems that some cities exist for leisure and pleasure, while others twist their inhabitants into strange shapes if they want to survive. The venue of the play, Mayfield, an artery of steel and stone, belongs to a city that is firmly in the latter camp.
It was a bit too talky and verbose at first, in my view. An awful lot of sub-Shakespearean dialogue, though Matthew Leonhart (Marco Polo) and Danny Sapani (Kublai Khan) ploughed through it as best they could. The final few scenes were in many ways the most exciting. Here the city was modern Venice (or perhaps any other major European city you might think of), plagued by tourists rolling trolleys along streets clogged with consumer waste. You were left in the end with the impression that a pure dance production might have been more successful.
Invisible Cities is showing at Mayfield as part of the Manchester International Festival. Further details can be found here.