Alistair Maxwell talks about Little Murmur at the Assembly Roxy

12 06 2022


Little Murmur was conceived as a way of bringing the Aakash Odedra Company’s production about dyslexia, Murmur 2.0, to a younger audience.  A series of physical theatre vignettes explore various issues around the topic, and Subhash Viman Gorania, the show’s solo performer, has a calmness and energy that quickly grabs the young audience’s attention. mixing  the graceful precision of a ballet dancer with the manic slapstick of Jim Carrey. When the fight he has with language becomes literal in a flurry of twitching, self-induced slaps and punches, he really piques their interest Indeed, the show is at its best when played directly to this gallery of children who laugh and giggle at Subhash’s antics.

Yet it seems unlikely that the children grasp the rather tenuous linking of the themes of dyslexia and the series. Was trying to catch every piece of paper in the cascading waterfall of paper symbolic of maybe trying to grasp language? Or was it just broadly entertaining physical theatre designed to transfix the target audience?

Much of the show has Subhash interacting with projections on a translucent white curtain. This is cleverly employed so that he dances with a neon blue clone, observes a bird breaking free from its cage, sketches letters, watching them dissolve into meaningless nothings. It is Pretty stuff, but rarely engaging. The scenes flow from one into the other but feel like unrelated sketches, variations on the same theme rather than anything building towards a conclusion or revelation.

At no point does the show strike the right balance between theme and visual metaphor but it does manage to be quite captivating in its freer moments. For example, the projections that Subhash danced and battled with were nice-looking. His fraught battle with the paper waterfall is comical yet never pushed into the hysterics that the audience craves. Little Murmur is a pleasant blend of physical theatre and digital art but it doesn’t fully explore the themes in question, but only occasionally refers to them.

This is important info but I wonder if there's something else you could start with to make the opening more punchy? Or just make this sentence a little more evocative?