What the Dog Said to the Harvest is an immersive multi-disciplinary exploration of climate change, presented as part of the Liverpool Arab Arts Festival. Combining song, dance, film and spoken word, the show is a fresh interpretation of the often-explored theme of climate change.
On entering the theatre, various footage relating to climate change is being played. There are numerous logs on the stage and on some of the seating and a collection of instruments waiting on the stage. Immersive from the start, the performers begin sitting as part of the audience and when the show begins, call out to each other coming together on the stage in a place of safety and comfort.
The performers do a good job of utilising all of the space in the theatre. The logs scattered about the venue confused and provoked the audience, creating conversations about their purpose and meaning. Use of lighting and haze create a good sense of various scenes, including fire, and add depth to the simplicity of the set.
The piece centres around the spoken word performance of writer and co-director lisa minerva luxx who provides a history of how human behaviour has created the climate emergency alongside the impact of colonialism, wars, famine, and power. Music composed by director, Jasmin Kent Rodgman includes operatic vocals from singers Mimi Doulton, Rosie Middleton and Jess Dandy created a unique and unexpected atmosphere. Excellent percussion from Angela Wai Nok Hui increased the immersive feeling of the performance and created a high level of drama. This was enhanced by the harsh tones created by guitarist Shannon Latoyah-Simon whose unique techniques, including the use of a violin bow on an electric guitar, created original and violent tones.
Dancers Amanda Pefkou, Samara Lanham and Anouk Jouanne are brilliant, combining yogic poses, original interpretative movement, and repetition to capture the world in miniature, reflecting much of human history and the impact we have had on our planet.
What the Dog Said to the Harvest is an interesting interpretation of history which captures the disorientation and hopelessness of living during a climate emergency. Critical of performative action and events leading up to the current crisis, this is a new way of exploring this issue in theatre and leaves the audience with a lot to think about.
What the Dog Said to the Harvest was performed as part of the Liverpool Arab Arts Festival. Information and tickets are available here https://www.arabartsfestival.com/home/2023festival/
Reviewer: Donna M Day
Reviewed: 13th July 2023
North West End UK Rating: