certain concerns, notably human isolation, if not tragedy,
and a non-judgmental view of aspects of mental instability.
These bleak topics were countered by a spellbindingly good
production, with nuanced performances bringing out the best
in script and libretti.
Touch Wood, is a
thorough success. [It] is accessible without losing
intellectual rigour and largely succeeds in being humorous
without trivialising its subject, obsessive-compulsive
disorder. It asks whether we enjoy greater freedom nowadays
or if it's an illusion. Five characters play out their
private compulsions and rituals, occasionally interacting in
amusing or poignant ways.
The set, lighting and
costumes, reminiscent of German Expressionist cinema, are
integral to the success of Touch Wood. The
performance reaches a musical and dramatic peak with a
clever group-choreographed "silly walk" around the stage.
The climax is loud, tuneful and exuberant and seems to imply
that the human spirit can overcome even impossible
a compilation and layering of acid funk, solid baroque, high
romanticism, Spanish and Latin modes, minimalist moments,
folky flavours and just jazz, all ardently adherent to (and
simultaneously commenting on) the emotional content of the
text. The performers... deliver the goods with the strict
discipline of serious chamber music, the united abandon of
good jazz and - towards the end - the intensity of tribal
passion. Inspired improvisation, collaborative co-existence.