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Bucket List at Battersea Arts Centre – Review

Theatre Ad Infinitum, Bucket List - (c) Alex Brenner
Theatre Ad Infinitum, Bucket List – (c) Alex Brenner

Ad Infinitum have a nifty way of using physicality within an ensemble to explore and portray historical issues that somehow appear relevant to the modern audience. After the resounding success of Pink Mist (still touring), the company now bring the highly acclaimed Bucket List to London before embarking on a national tour. Winning a Spirit of the Fringe Award at the Edinburgh Fringe 2016 for its dramatic, moving portrayal of one girl’s quest for justice, the play is set against the backdrop of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in the mid-90s. Milagros, a 14-year-old with a penchant for chess, is orphaned by the corrupt Mexican politics that operate within her community. In a race against time, with the local factories continuing to spew poison into the air in the name of profit, Milagros takes matters into her own hands, and sets about seeking revenge for both the death of her mother, and the injustices performed against the women that surround her.

The story is by turns exceedingly dark, with tales of rape, murder and destruction interwoven both visually and lyrically within the narrative, yet still manages to surprise and delight. Vicky Araico Casas as Milagros is warm and genuine, with excellent comic timing, and the ensemble all-female cast are equally funny and generous in their storytelling and characterisation. The movement is slick and pointed, and the feeling of solidarity gained from this troupe – as well as the rousing music and song throughout – is one of the main strengths of this particular production.

Admittedly, it is a world I know very little about. Yet the relevance of such a production today is glaringly obvious. Relations between Mexican and US officials led to corruption in the 1990s, leaving many ordinary Mexicans
overworked, underpaid, terminally ill, and silenced with death threats. Now, however – what kind of relationship between the US and Mexico will emerge with the threat of a gigantic wall being erected to separate the two? Milagros’ rallying war cry as she fights for the rights of ordinary citizens, continually being used as pawns in this game of corrupted politicians, is both stirring and difficult.

She challenges – what can she do? Yet, by us, she is met with silence. Perhaps this is the most powerful wall she is facing – and one that must be quashed. Perhaps it is spectacular shows like Bucket List that are pivotal in giving women like Milagros a voice during our on-going, uncertain fight for freedom.

5 Star Rating

Review by Amy Stow

When her mother is murdered for protesting governmental corruption, Milagros finds herself with a blood stained list of those responsible and is determined to make them pay.

Set on the Mexico-US border amid turbulent relations, Bucket List follows one Mexican woman’s quest for justice and asks what it takes for ordinary people to create political change.

Conjuring whole worlds with highly physical choreography, live music and song, Theatre Ad Infinitum unfold an adrenaline-filled tale of loss and revenge that asks pertinent questions about the world we are living in.

Theatre Ad Infinitum are the multi-award winning creators of Light, Ballad of the Burning Star and Translunar Paradise.

13 Feb – 4 Mar
BUCKET LIST
Theatre Ad Infinitum
https://www.bac.org.uk/

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