On the stage of the Macrobert Arts Centre tonight the audience is welcomed to witness a unique experience. Mark Murphy‘s V-TOL Out Of This World is having its world premiere, also the start of their UK tour. It’s a show bigger than nature that is difficult to describe, to summarise, or to preamble. It is a mix of theatre, music, dance and aerials. It’s a show that needs to be seen, felt and experienced live.
The start of Out of This World is fractured, as if multiple storylines, emotions and characters are trying to surface. The audience doesn’t really know what’s going on or what to expect. The combination of sound, music, lighting, and interactive projections is what’s most impressive, not only as a viewing experience, but also for setting the mood. It’s confused, agitated, hectic and anxious. What viewers may think is happening, what they are feeling, may change from one second to the next. Especially with all the visuals and plot details vying for their attention.
The action seems to be slowly building toward an event, which we later learn is central to the plot. The performance keeps the audience in heightened emotions, until, slowly, the pieces start to fall together, not only for the audience, but also for the main character whose experiences direct the audience’s understanding of what is going on around her.
At the centre of Out Of This World is the character of Ellen. She’s played by the multi-talented Sarah Swire whose nearly non-stop presence on stage is the one constant throughout the show. Ellen’s journey defines the audience’s emotional journey. She even breaks the fourth wall repeatedly to ask for the audience to keep her safe in her own journey.
The show, through Ellen’s experiences, makes the audience head into the unknown, facing a reality that perhaps all humans are afraid of. When the heartbreaking truth is revealed, it’s more than one person in the audience that is left in tears.
The show is intricately built and crafted, not only story-wise as pieces of the plot are weaved in a non-linear fashion slowly revealing the truth, but also physically, with the aerial numbers. Even though the audience can see the harnesses and the ropes, when Ellen takes flight it feels magical, as if taking us out of this world.