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A Little Space review – thrilling whirl through a block of flats | Stage


It’s apt that Gecko’s new collaboration with Mind the Gap has been commissioned by Home in Manchester, as in many ways A Little Space is about what home might mean for us. The title can be read two ways: a space of one’s own, some peace and quiet away from the outside world; but also the limits and confinement of our four walls.

The show is a tug of war between connection and isolation, company and solitude. Set in an apartment block, the performance moves fluidly between the atomised living spaces, where people exist in distant proximity. For some, home is a sweet escape. For others, it’s a burden that is (literally in one case) carried on the shoulders, weighing them down.

The piece has the distinctive look and feel of a Gecko show, from the physicality to the swooping breaths to the inventive use of props, but Mind the Gap add new flavour to a familiar recipe. Devised with the company’s ensemble of learning-disabled artists, A Little Space is textured by the performers’ own experiences of loneliness and disconnection, as well as the occasional joy that can be found in one’s own company.





A Little Space.



Thrilling ingenuity … A Little Space. Photograph: Tom Woollard

In designer Rhys Jarman’s stripped-back room, enclosed by a cage of copper pipes, different lives overlap and intersect. Hands thrust through floorboards and whispers waft through walls. Furniture and limbs whirl through the space while lamps twinkle and sputter. Chris Swain’s versatile lighting – from eerie grey-green washes to the moveable lightboxes representing the apartment block – serves almost as an additional character, driving the fragmentary narrative forwards.

As is to be expected from Gecko, this is visually stunning stuff, dotted with thrilling moments of surprise and ingenuity. There are also welcome flashes of humour: at one stage a man is dragged irresistibly towards the flickering allure of his television screen. But it’s perhaps at its best in those startling moments of connection, when divided lives suddenly – if only briefly – converge.

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