Purcell Room, Southbank Centre
Reviewed – 15th June 2019
“the arbitrary cultivation of the whole piece was too random to come away with anything cohesive”
Ino Moxo is part of Border Crossing’s Origins Festival of First Nations which is being hosted across a wide range of London venues. This year marks its 10th anniversary and will feature a plethora of events celebrating indigenous diasporas across the globe. What is wonderful about this festival is its celebratory focus on how integral these past and present nations have been (and still are) in founding what we understand as our modern day society. It recognises the urgency to educate on the wealth these cultures and traditions possess, lest they be forgotten into the vast expanse of history.
Ino Moxo is performed by Peru’s Grupo Integro (consisting of five performers) and is inspired by the novel ‘Three Halves of Ino Moxo: Teachings of the Wizard of the Upper Amazon’ by César Calvo. In the novel, Ino Moxo is a legendary sorcerer residing in the Amazon jungle. Grupo Integro’s performance is not an interpretation of the text but rather, as quoted in the programme, “a synaesthetic (sic) experience allowing us to resonate with its essence”.
With each movement; navigated with grace and precision, the troupe devised a performance that was slightly hypnotic at times. Perhaps this was induced by the purposeful repetition compounded by the visuals (Juan Carlos Yanaura and Carlos Letts) projected onto a sheer, black fabric acting as a translucent fourth wall, that helped induce a portentous dream-like state. The live singing by Rawa (Roldán Munoz Agustin) was quite evocative; reminiscent of the ritualistic singing of shamans and both the musical arrangement (Santiago Pillado) and staging (Oscar Naters) enhanced the feeling of other-worldliness akin to an isolated limbo.
The show was certainly one of ‘essence’ rather than any tangible meaning. And though there were references to the destruction of sacred cultures for profit, the performance was incredibly abstract and especially turgid to dissect. Often, very little happened and the stage itself would be left empty. Whether this was an intentional incongruity is still up for question, but it did nothing to enhance the piece as a whole. The aim of Ino Moxo was to create an ambiance, a feeling for which the audience could intimately resonate with, yet the arbitrary cultivation of the whole piece was too random to come away with anything cohesive.
It is clear that Grupo Integro care passionately about the importance of this work. It’s translated and conveyed in the detail of each flick of a head to the curl of every fingertip. If you are a fan of abstract physical theatre and dance, this show is certainly for you and if not, there is an array of fascinating events still to see at the Origins festival that will most certainly capture your imagination.
Reviewed by Pippin
Purcell Room, Southbank Centre until 16th June
Shows previously covered by this reviewer: