Review: The Shadow @ HOME

The Shadow brings the unconscious self into the light in this must-see show about the parts of ourselves we cant see.

Company Chameleon presents a dark psychological thriller told through dance and movement.

In a HOME production choreographer Anthony Missen uses an end of the World hypothesis and Carl Jung’s model of the psyche to explore unconscious desires.

The creativity and complexity of the nonlinear narrative is immensely clever. Six characters and their shadow counterparts are swept into different stories and places, revealing inner worlds, hidden personalities, desires and motivations. The unloved primitive, inferior and awkward parts step into the light. 

The shadows dressed head to toe in all black lurk in the background like our dark thoughts lurk in the back of our minds. To see a physical representation of our unconscious desires is astonishing and chilling in equal measure.

During heavy research for the show the dancers studied Carl Jung’s analytical psychology. The shadow is the unknown dark side of our personalities. The unconscious, repressed, suppressed or disowned parts of the conscious self.

During research the dancers spent a lot of time reflecting and looking deep within themselves. After seeing the results on stage, their time spent was well worth it. They have added their own deep personal stories and vulnerabilities to show, which provides an authenticity and intimacy, something which the audience can really connect with and relate to.

Childhood memories, humiliation and shame, love and loss are some of the main emotions brought to life. The show is beautiful, balletic, and brilliant. I don’t think one viewing is enough.

Juliana Javier lights up the stage whenever she’s on it. Her facial expressions showed what a great actor as well as dancer she is. As part of the show Juliana got the chance to show off her abilities to the full with a solo performance which captivated the audience.

After seeing a rehearsal of the show out of costume and without lighting I can fully appreciate how much they add to the emotion Anthony is trying to convey to the audience.

Lighting director Ben Ormerod focuses your vision amid the complexity of the story and choreography, heightening emotions and bringing the darkness into light. 

The music composed by Ben Chatwin is beautifully haunting and eerie, drawing the audience into the deep, dark, depths of the minds of the dancers. 

With the narrative and subject matter being so complex, there is plenty of space open for the audience to make their own interpretations and bring their own stories to the performance. This is a good thing.

As Anthony told me when I did an interview with him prior to the show, one of the beautiful things about dance is that if the emotion is real and from an honest source, the audience can connect with the dancers and bring their own stories to the stage.

As for me, it made me think, it brought my own shadow to light, it made me question the nature of humanity. I don’t think there is a higher complement I can pay to the show.

The show will be at The Arts Centre, Edge Hill University on Tuesday 26 November, 7:30pm and University Theatre, Bath Spa University on Saturday 30 November, 8:00pm. 

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