Body 115 – Written and Performed by Jan Noble | Review

Meandering poetry, bold visual imagery and a lively performance don’t quite get Body 115, the new extended poem by Jam Noble across the line.

Body 115 - Written and Performed by Jan NobleSteeped in folk imagery, the expanse of nature and a man’s search for emotional absolution, the world of Body 115 is murky and often hard to discern. Metaphor is the main character as Noble stands alone in all black, with an ambiguous, unexplained suitcase sitting just left of centre stage. The whole piece is, in some ways left of centre, and unfortunately not in a way that pulled me in. The poetry is sweeping, moving from folk character to folk character as our narrator travels from one body of water to the next. The narrative of the piece is hard to discern, seemingly dipping in and out of reality with little notice and exploring the liminal spaces in between. This poetic style thrives in ambiguity, and while I am certainly not asking for comfortable answers, it was confusion that I was left with, not ambiguity.

The performance is ambitious and commits boldly to the language and world of the piece. This is difficult when the piece does not carry the weight it imagines it does. That being said, there is little that is imaginative about it, bringing little to the text, other than the most straightforward reading of the text.

There are glimpses of interesting visual imagery, but the piece did little to move me, and while I love to sit back and mull in long-form poetry, this failed to reach me.

2 gold stars

Review by Tom Carter

Body 115
Written and performed by Jan Noble
Directed by Justin Butcher Sound design by Jack Arnold Lighting Design: Tom Turner
Stage manager: Matthew Sheldon
Tuesday 7 – Saturday 11 May 2024 at 7.30 pm

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