Perth Concert Hall
Friday, February 17, 2017
Flit by Martin Green absorbs its audience into a paper voyage. For 75-minutes Perth Concert Hall held a dark and smoky atmosphere, where an accordionist and his dazzling collaborators collected the hearts of their audience and tethered them to stories of migration and humanity. It is a visionary journey that swells in waves of haunting music and projected tales of human movement that touched every facet of what unites us, beyond race, religion and ethnicity through stop-motion and digital animation.
An intensely absorbing experience with an understated and abiding beauty, Flit delivers a production of intimate narratives deriving from the collected stories of migration. Walls of torn and uneven surfaces which were made from packing paper stood tall behind the performers where animations created by BAFTA-winning duo Whiterobot, moved across it in a manner that absorbed the audience into another world; a world where music acts as a bridge to understanding it all. The animated paper world unfolded a political voice for displaced human beings of all ages and ethnicities, and it reminded the audience of what their own sense of place means to them, whilst giving an insight into what it could be like to lose that.
Sweeping the audience into a tale of his grandmother’s flee from Austria to London in the 1930’s as a Jewish refugee, Green stopped his direct address to the crowd and the tale turned into a breathtaking song called Roll Away. The uncompromisingly tender track gave a taste of the heart warming and emotionally turbulent nature of the entire performance. Recently nominated for BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards Best Original Track, Becky Unthank and Adam Holmes vocals were otherworldly, echoing on in my thoughts hours after the show had come to a close.
Green stopped and spoke directly to the crowd at various points throughout the show, which lightened the intensity that carried throughout the musical performances. It was an unexpected and clever turn when the brimming peak of the show was reached in one of these moments. Green began to shout with a voice thickly laden with horror at how it could possibly be someone’s job to decide how many child refugees with homes in turmoil could be given refuge; and with that decision also settling how many would be left in the rubble.
As a whole the performance was a collaboration of elements that never compromised an effortless feeling reminiscent of story time as a child. As a member of the audience you’re towed along this experience to visit emotions and thoughts that feel very familiar and near to you, and in that element lies the beauty of what Green has created. Through the combination of songs, animation, and stories Flit is a life-affirming reminder of unity.