An Evening Of Meat is rich in subtext. Under Kate March’s creative direction, it proves a fascinating show of observational, behavioural psychology.

Kate March is our mistress of ceremonies. She sits vertically on her chair and her animalistic performers curl up on the tables – these double as both the performance and the dining space. As we eat a sumptuous six-course tasting menu of meat in various guises, our entertainment explores its surroundings, grows brave and starts to rebel. All the while, March is on hand, controlling and encouraging her girls to evolve, to discover, to grow.

An Evening Of Meat The Vaults

An Evening Of Meat is rich in subtext. All the performers are female, scampering up and down their surroundings on all fours. Each has a distinct personality, from the subservient, docile Zeta (Jessie Jing), to the intelligent yet passive X (Rachel Perry). But none draws the eyes like March’s Alpha competition, Omega (Siobhan Maire Dumigan). She leads the charge in aggressive independence, determined to match her mistress in verticality, communication and confidence. She controls with force rather than with incentive.

Under March’s creative direction, An Evening Of Meat proves a fascinating show of observational, behavioural psychology. We sit, watch and dine as the five-strong female team slowly begin to break out of their moulds, playing & testing the boundaries and limitations that come with being confined to a single plane. As Patrick Rivera’s evocative, driving compositions pervade the atmosphere, we get subtle shifts in mood. In between courses, the troupe perform choreographed, angry movement – a fusion of pounding classical, electronic synthesisers and driving drum ‘n’ bass support the fury and frustration in each individual’s feline femininity. During servings, they are free to discover for themselves. We are spectators in a zoo with no protective barriers.

An Evening Of Meat The Vaults

Each performer exhibits exquisite control in their physicality and form. By performing down long trestle tables, with no more than a foot’s width of surface in which to manoeuvre, they show off their acrobatic and balancing skill and yogic levels of poise and serenity. They are the physical embodiments of control, relinquishing their self-awareness both willingly and under duress. As mistress March wanders around, the only individual who can both stand tall and break the confines of their habitat, she provides sustenance and dishes out retribution in equal measure. Yet ultimately she is present to encourage, assisting her contemporaries so that they may rise and ascend past their limits. She is the next stage in evolution for them to aspire towards.

An Evening Of Meat The Vaults

The beauty with An Evening Of Meat is in its delicacy and layering. There are numerous tastes and textures to enjoy within the cuisine itself – the braised mutton shoulder with sweet garden peas, spearmint, garlic and dehydrated feta is particularly delectable and complex. Likewise, the performances are equally as sumptuous for the eye. Fashion designer Lisa Von Tang plays on the sensuality of cabaret to dress the artists in evocative outfits, indicating the promise of iniquity in this heady den. Each of the cast are magnetic to watch, exhibiting individual personalities that grow and transform as the evening continues. Together they construct microcosms that are shattered and rebuilt with more complicated subtext. The narrative itself lacks variety, but consistently drives towards a bolder and brasher conclusion that isn’t quite delivered as promised.

An Evening Of Meat The Vaults

There are numerous shrewd perceptions and opinions that are shared throughout An Evening Of Meat. We discuss freely the associations of March’s direction with feminism, evolution and culinary experience. Each course, each performance, informs our discussions, much in the way that March guides the performers into reaching a more vertical final goal. We observe the persistence of those of the table and as such are enlightened in our perspectives, as we sit around immersed yet elevated.

 

 

★★★★☆

An Evening Of Meat runs at The Vaults until 2 June 2018. For further information, please visit the venue website.