Inspired by Woyzeck with shadows of Frankenstein, English National Ballet’s production of Creature by Akram Khan is an unearthly tale of exploitation and human frontiers, set in a derelict former Arctic research station.
In a dilapidated former Arctic research station, the Creature has been conscripted by a military brigade into a bold new experimental programme. He is being tested for his mental and physical ability to adapt to extreme cold, isolation and homesickness: vital qualities in mankind’s proposed colonisation of the ‘final frontiers’ on earth and beyond.
Creature is an unearthly tale of exploitation and human frontiers inspired by Georg Büchner’s expressionist classic Woyzeck, with shadows of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Drawing on themes of abandonment, isolation and the fragility of the mind, Creature is the tale of an outsider and the search for belonging.
“The outcast, the stranger, have been a common theme in my work”, says Khan. “In Creature, I am looking further into the areas related to the sense of abandonment, rage and loss.”
Following the pivotal impact of Dust and Giselle, Creature is Akram Khan’s third collaboration with Sadler’s Wells Associate Company, English National Ballet. He is joined by a brilliant creative team of Academy Award-winning designer Tim Yip, composer and sound designer Vincenzo Lamagna, lighting designer Michael Hulls and dramaturg Ruth Little. The haunting score is played live by English National Ballet Philharmonic.
[Image description] An uncanny human with bright blue skin is trapped behind a sheet of translucent ice or glass that glows in pink and orange swirls. He looks off to one side, his palm pressed against the wall.
A co-production between English National Ballet, Opera Ballet Vlaanderen (OBV) and Sadler’s Wells, London.
Header image © Jason Bell
Superb… A tight-wound drama that never lets up. [Khan] piles up themes and imagery into a monumental whole.
★★★★★ THE INDEPENDENT