FLIT is a show that aimed to be more than just a gig at which stories are told between songs, so it incorporated stop-motion animation as an integral part of the music and storytelling. By Martin Green, FLIT explores the theme of migration amongst humans and other animals; with a strong focus on birds because of the vital role migration plays in their lives.
I must confess that I came to this performance with much trepidation but I was rewarded for going out of my comfort zone. Live music was performed in the foyer before the performance began. The music was performed on a banjo and sung, the Scottish folk genre giving it a kind of street performer feel. This vibe emphasised the themes of travel and migration as folk is traditionally associated with the telling of stories, travel and sharing experiences.
The set was made of towering masses of crumpled, layered, brown paper. This was ideal in reflecting the temporary nature of homes and the paper – useful but only for a short time – was an ideal metaphor and ideal for using in stop-motion animation. The packaging paper was also ideal as it is universally recognised as somethting used to contain and send objects all around the world. The animation was projected partly on three canvas screens at the front and the paper structures at the back behind the performers. At the centre of the stage was a large zoetrope that, through the use of strobe lighting, created one of the oldest forms of animation there has ever been. It was used three times during the performance, each time with a different set of images.
The lighting for the show was complex, intricate and stunning, the animation was clever and gripping – accompanied by a folk score and sung with the distinct, ethereal vocals of Becky Unthank and Adam Holmes, FLIT was a wonder to behold. The sections between songs spoken by Martin Green were witty, passionate and thought provoking. The way that the crumpled paper morphed from people into houses and birds was beautiful and meticulously done.
A quirky performance aimed at a niche market, FLIT would not be for everyone. At parts there was a lack of diction in the singing, so pieces of meaning were lost, but overall it was both visually and aurally fascinating. A well-created piece of art.
Reviewed by Thomas Barrett