Review: Origins @ The Lowry, MediaCity

Origins tells the biblical tale of brothers Cain and Abel, and the world’s first murder. 

Only, telling would be the wrong word. They portray it, through movement and acting. No words are spoken. 

The 70 minute play is charged with emotion, the two actors – Charles Sandford and Adam Davies as Cain and Abel respectively – carry the play through nuanced changes of mood, from tender affection to anguish and despair. 

Sandford in particular gives a thrilling performance, his piercing eyes starting from their sockets throughout, the sweat streaming from his torso testament to the strain of his efforts.  

The play is challenging, more inclined to make you think than smile. Almost as much effort is required from the audience to follow the action, as there is from the co-stars to provide it. 

And therein lies the problem. 

Origins is a play the demands constant attention, but the vagaries caused by the lack of speech mean it struggles to command it. 

If one was to walk into the theatre with no knowledge of the tale of Cain and Abel, it is entirely plausible that they would leave it feeling much the same.  

The middle of the play in particular struggles to convey a coherent narrative. Would it be more enjoyable with the addition of a narrator? Perhaps. 

All in all, Origins is an impressive piece of art. 

But for it to grow from interesting to genuinely enjoyable, more of an effort should be made to create a storyline that is accessible for the whole audience. 

Image courtesy of Animikii Theatre, via Vimeo, with thanks

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