By Jeremy Miles
In a bleak but brilliant meditation on the state of the nation, Babel is a wake-up call for those content to look the other way as freedom and individuality threaten to become things of the past.
In Choreographed by dance mavericks Liam Steel and Robert Tannion and written by Patrick Neate, this is dance of the highest order.
It combines explosive but often beautifully fluid movements with articulate and intelligent dialogue delivered as edgy urban street verse.
With light and sound design as powerful as the message it so effectively punches home, this production offers a dystopian vision of life in early 21st century Britain. As the title suggests it also draws disturbing parallels with the Biblical story of the Tower of Babel.
The message is simple: when everyone speaks with the same voice, no one hears anything.
In a heartfelt plea for tolerance and the celebration of diversity, Babel asks what will happen when the towers of rampant consumerism, celebrity worship and political apathy that we apparently so willing construct around us come crashing down?
It’s a scary thought and even those who dream of escape by winning the lottery are offered little hope. For, as the alarming statistics contained in this production show, in Britain in 2010 you are twice as likely to be shot in the head as purchase a jackpot winning ticket.
Babel was commissioned by Salisbury Arts Centre and Swindon Dance Centre and co-produced by Stan Won’t Dance and the Laban Theatre.