MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE (Miller Theater): A sting in the tale

No one says a word.  

This is a show—not a play, not musical theater—about bodies and the astonishing things this company of  23 dancers (led by Lukas McFarlane) can do with Kate Prince’s wildly energetic choreography. Mostly this is breakdance—much too much of a good thing in Act One, if you ask me— with glimpses in Act Two of jazz and ballet that let us see that these dancers can probably do anything. The two pas de deux are sensational.

Offstage, Sting’s songs 27 of them, including many of the favorites like “Fields of Gold” and “Every Breath You Take” and, of course, the title song, are strung together to  tell (more or less) a simple story; the narrative depends on a kind of athletic miming.   We see a happy community  celebrating a marriage; their joy is disrupted by explosions and then full-on war,  and the family is separated. Soldiers arrive; there are scenes of violence, cruelty,  an escape by a perilous ocean voyage, and prison.  Eventually they escape and re-find each other. A happy ending.

Mention should be made of the interesting costumes (designed by Anna Fleischle) which beautifully speak meaning.  The video projections by Andrzej Goulding are stunning and engineered with remarkable precision; especially good is the image of time running out; the scene where the dancers dance with their silhouettes is terrific. Under Prince’s direction the pace is relentless, and by the end of two hours, the audience is on their feet.

[National tour presented by Ensemble Arts the the Miller Theater, 250 S. Broad Street] May 14-19, 2024;

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.