Trinity, by Brave New Worlds for Ovalhouse at the Asylum, Caroline Garden’s Chapel (review)

The first best thing about Trinity, the off-site production for Ovalhouse, is its venue. Asylum is a derelict gothic chapel set in Caroline Garden’s Chapel in Peckham, once the site of London’s largest set of almshouses. Grade II-listed, the houses are still lived in, and the chapel is run as a project space and wedding venue.  The chapel has a powerful atmosphere and is a stunning mixture of dillapidated and beautiful, with glorious stained glass windows on both sides of you as you take your seat.  It certainly doesn’t feel like you are a stone’s throw from Toys R Us on the Old Kent Road.


Photos: Hatty Uwanogho

Trinity is performed by Brave New Worlds, a performance collective based in England and Lithuania and whose performances are a creative mixture of dance, theatre and live art. Three performers (Valentina Ceschi, Kate Lane and Guoda Jaruseviciute) are joined by composer Demetrio Castelluci and lighting/projection designer Darren Johnstone to create Trinity, which has religious overtones and an incredible soundtrack.  Another huge element of Trinity is its costume. In the heat of last week it was almost insufferable to imagine how the costumes must have felt to wear: full body suits which enclosed their wearer from head to toe; layers over layers; on top of those, fluorescent pink visors which threw beams of light from the head to the floor; claustrophobic lycra from which burst out pregnant, amorphous forms.

Photo: Camilla Greenwell

I won’t lie and tell you that I really knew what was going on. The trio of performers enter and leave the space sedately, interact and flow together and then whirl around each other.  The music crescendoes and one voice starts a sort of chanting; the figures exit behind the audience’s seats, out of the back of the chapel, and we hardly dare to look behind us; then they re-enter in a new and equally astounding costume.

There is a concertina-like fabric in colours which appear different in different lighting. The red, gold and irridescent colours almost hypnotise when they are fanned around.

When the final figure walks slowly in to an eerie cacophony of noise she is covered in a black sort of coal, leaning on a staff and practically crumbling into herself.  The programme notes explain that Trinity challenges ‘the objectification and iconification of the female form’. I was not sure quite what it all meant, but the look and feel of Trinity, especially in this setting, is affecting and haunting.

hattydaze rating: ***/*****

I attended Trinity on a press ticket. It is on until 27th June 2017 at Asylum. More details at Ovalhouse and Brave New Worlds websites.


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