Kate McIntosh in ‘Dark Matter’: a compelling diva clumsily looking for answers
A parallel universe. It’s always nice when a performer succeeds in taking you there. Some silly jokes delivered with a straight face, a couple of scientific experiments going wrong in the best Tommy Cooper-tradition, a leading lady pretending to be in control of everything, and a story taking a few absurd turns. That’s how Kate McIntosh won me over. And of course it always helps to throw in some balloons and twinkling stars too.
Gilbert and George hopelessly lost in a second-rate Las Vegas late night show, with a diva in a green dress desperately trying to solve some important questions about time, darkness and gravity. That’s Dark Matter. For her new performance Kate McIntosh, a dancer and performer from New Zealand based in Brussels, cleverly combines elements from cabaret, stand-up comedy and amateur science tv-shows. How do we see the unimaginably big and the unimaginably small? That are some of the questions she wants to find an answer to.
Her setting is rather theatrical. She really believes she is the diva in this show that is going nowhere, against a backdrop with twinkling stars. And her two clumsy assistants (Thomas Kasebacher and Bruno Roubicek) devotedly follow her on her path to glory. They perform the strangest pseudo-scientific experiments and juggle with a smoke machine, balloons, glasses, water and napkins and important sounding words such as ‘time’, ‘mind’ and ‘consciousness’. One of them is looking for the absolute black, while the other enjoys that singing wine glass just a little bit too much.
McIntosh makes you smile, but succeeds in making you feel slightly uneasy too, at some moments. In the end she gets nowhere at all – well yeah, she succeeds in crossing over to a parallel universe ánd in coming back – and none of her big questions really get answered. That might be frustrating to some. But I really was taken away by this absurd show, performed with gusto.