After falling hook, line and sinker for Lucy Rivers’ for The Sinners Club, one of my must-sees for Cardiff’s Festival of Voice 2018 was the co-production between Gagglebabble and WMC. Gagglebabble, a company founded by Hannah McPake and Lucy Rivers, warranted a great deal of expectation in the talented duo. Double Vision by Gagglebabble lives up to expectation.
The premise may be Hitchcock and Lehman, influenced by David Lynch and Roald Dahl, for me there was a book cover in my mind. Malcolm Pryce’s Last Tango in Aberystwyth was left etched on my mind. All bar the elusive detective, Double Vision has all the trademarks demanding the noir detective, plus music, puppetry and fantastic lighting design.
Double Vision achieved what was promised. The aural experience was positioned at the heart of this story. Immersed from the off in an interactive experience, your mind is constantly piecing the story together and enjoying the journey. Joshua Pharo’s lighting and projection design is fantastic in bringing perspective and suspense, complementing the storyline in embracing the suspense.Whilst the plot may be a little lacking in today’s world of seeing life through multiple lens, the visual and aural stimulation is a joy. Telling the story of life aboard the Empress of the Sea. A luxury cruise liner which doubles as an escape for cosmetic surgery. The injection of humour is appreciated as an escape from the day.
Initially introduced to the story through the voice of Mel, the cocktail waitress on board the ship, there is much humour to be found in the passengers on board The Empress. Hannah McPake, Francois Pandolfo and Lucy Rivers create fantastic humour in these characterisations. Balancing the suspense to maintain an overriding feeling of enjoyment.
In meeting Serena, the cruise ship singer, so the aural experience is positioned even more strongly through Lisa Jên Brown. Visually created as a mythical creature in flowing greens, there is so much beauty in the voice that a heroine is created. From the initial narrative of Mared Jarman’s Mel to the removal of the lens, and the perception of Serena. This feels, like a sudden rush to the senses, raw. From the streets of Havana to the starkness of modern life. The change in gaining vision is felt in double, the sound as blinding as light.
Through a strong cast of actors and musicians, Double Vision achieves. There is so much to be appreciated in escapism, so much to be respected in brave decisions. Gagglebabble feels like it’s making these decisions with an intent to entertain.
The Festival of Voice takes place from 7th-17th June across Cardiff. Check out the website for more information.
Live photography credit: Rhys Cozens
Disclosure: I was invited to the performance for the purpose of this review. All words and opinions contained are my own.