Lighthouse is an interpretation of our modern reliance on and issues with plastic, explored through the media of dance, mime and acrobatics. Performed by Hazel Lam, who uses various lengths of PVC plastic tubes which are suspended in three sections around the stage. The audience is seated on three sides of the stage so the performance is almost in the round, and she uses the space in a variety of different ways.
The plastic piping works is used as for different purposes in each of the styles, and it works so well that without the description highlighting the environmental commentary, it might have been easy to miss this connection and just see it as an abstract dance performance.
The aerial and acrobatic elements are the most impressive, and although the mime and clown aspects had their charm they often felt like part of a different performance. The different aspects can feel confusing when put together, especially as she moves back and forth between the different styles. She uses the different sets of plastic tubes in various ways, such as tying them together to create the apparatus for the aerial work and becoming tangled up in them as part of the mime. The changes throughout the performance sometimes feel a little jarring or difficult to follow but it makes sense when thought of in the context of our complicated relationship with plastic.
Lam’s skill is undeniable and her explorations of movement using the plastic definitely make the audience consider how we use plastic and how it affects us. The aerial work is daring and challenging, she uses the full length and height of the tubes with no obvious safety apparatus, often creating the structures for her balances while she is suspended in mid air.
She incorporates various pieces of music and sound effects into her different use of the minimalist props of the plastic tubes and a pair of plastic boots. The performance does not include any spoken language so it is impressive how much she manages to convey using so little. Lighthouse is suitable for all ages although some of the aerial work does get very high and daring, so perhaps not for the faint hearted.