As the longest January on record is at last ending and the days seem to be finally getting longer, it’s time to head into the West End for something rather different for me. Instead of my usual, nicely placed seat in front of a stage, I set my sights on Trafalgar Square and the wonderful St Martin-in-the-Fields church for what is billed as “A spectacular sound and light experience” The show is called Life and I’m going to try and describe my experience with as few spoilers as possible.
Life starts before you even enter the building with a series of projections on the church and building opposite to look at as you join the queue to get into the churchyard, ready to move through the experience. Once checked in you can sit and relax for a few minutes with a drink before heading down to the crypt. If the light show outside was good, then the light show in the crypt was amazing. It’s such a wonderful space to walk through and the illumination that runs through it from front to back is spectacular. There is also music and some poetry reading, including William Wordsworth’s classic “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud.”
I stood and wandered through the crypt for two cycles of the lights then headed upstairs to the main body of the church for the final part of the production. And if the crypt was spectacular, then it was nothing when compared to the absolutely awesome finale. Entering the church from the back, I was overwhelmed by sound and light stretching across and along the entire building. I found myself rooted to the spot for a few seconds by the magnitude of what I was seeing. Eventually, I moved again, sat in one of the pews, and then just drank it all in. You are permitted to record the show and there were lots of people, including me, taking advantage of this and I’m sure in the next day or two, various clips will be all over social media (check out my TikTok for example) but they won’t necessarily be able to translate the epic scale and splendour of the show itself. This time, I sat through three cycles of the show, each time spotting something new and wonderful, before I finally left.
Life is produced and presented by artist Peter Walker and Luxmuralis and is just amazing. When James Gibbs designed the new church in 1720, I doubt he ever thought that one day it would host something like a light show, but the layout of the altar end makes it a spectacular location.
So yes, I really loved Life and was totally overawed by the experience. It is a combination of a wonderful building, great music and amazing lighting and video that is guaranteed to take your breath away.
Review by Terry Eastham
‘Life’ is produced and presented by artist Peter Walker and Luxmuralis, a collaborative team combining artists from different backgrounds and artistic disciplines whose aim is to take art onto the streets and provide access to visual artwork in public as well as unexpected places.
LIFE is an immersive walking experience that takes from 30 minutes – 40minutes and starts outside, so wrap up warm. From the courtyard, you will walk between projections on the outside of the church, before being guided down into the basement of the church including the crypt and gallery, and then up into the main church for the finale.
LIFE at St Martin-in-the-Fields runs from 30th January – 3rd February. Tickets from £10.
Info here https://www.stmartin-in-the-fields.org/calendar/life/