Physical theatre company, Gecko, is back in Bristol with a darkly humorous piece of theatre that deals with mental health, relationships and, ultimately, humanity. Institute is a Dystopian offering that captivates and questions a world that we can’t quite grasp but that, at the same time, we understand.
The stage is an office/hosptial, dominated by oversized filing cabinets out of which memories jump. Martin, played by Gecko’s artistic director, Amit Lehav, and Daniel (Chris Evans) are bonded through … we’re not quite sure what. As both men (there are only men in Institute) talk on the phone to two unseen and nebulous characters, their words, mumblings and actions become cleverly entwined and boundaries are blurred. Movement and dance bring a special energy to the stage in visually stunning choreography that’s not far from hypnotising.
Ryan Perkins Gangnes as German speaking Karl and François Testory as French speaking Louis are revealed and, if at first it seems that they possess The Power, they soon morph into disturbed carers, relaying that we all have our own disquiet, our personal anxieties. I’d be lying if I said I always understood the story unfolding before me and, finally, the audience is left dangling on a frustrating knife-edge but that didn’t stop me being mesmerised by the whole experience. Institute is bold and honest, urging us to be mindful and, crucially, to look after each other.
Bristol Old Vic website