The story in Missing, Amit Lahav’s new production for his company Gecko, is not the main element. But then, there is no main element: the work’s distinctiveness comes from its mix of actors and dancers, sounds and images, subjects and scenarios, even of languages. The story is simple, occasionally simplistic: an ordinary woman (Georgina Robertson) recalls scenes from her life: a wedding day, learning flamenco, parties, parents’ rows. The way it is told, though, is gripping. The stage is a swirl of shadows, from which figures loom fleetingly: lanky David Bartholomew intoning lessons in Polish; Chris Evans and Anna Finkel as attentive parents to a wide-eyed puppet-daughter; Ryen Perkins-Gangnes as the husband whose companionable smile masks solitary torments. But these figures are as mutable as the mists around them, morphing into friends joshing in a nightclub or indifferent passers-by.
Nothing is stable. The performers track each other with wooden frames, like movable viewfinders, while travelators make every scene seem slippery. The soundtrack jumps from disco-bop to breathy gasps to easy jazz, sentences flip from English to Spanish, and desktop objects – a coffee cup, a laptop, a table lamp – are made to swarm round Robertson’s head like moths. She doesn’t even remain the subject of her story: three-quarters in, the focus switches to her parents.
All this stream-of-consciousness and free association could unravel easily, but Lahav keeps his direction taut and sinuous – like the flamenco arms that run through the piece – and the result is a kind of restless delirium, dense with poetic effect. You can, however, have too much of a good thing: Lahav rightly lets us read whatever we wish into these images, but the headlong rush doesn’t leave much space in which to do it.