City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Seven Hungers, Summerhall, Review

By michelle.haynes - Posted on 17 October 2014

Seven Hungers
Show Details
Company of Wolves
Ewan Downie (Director), Anna Porubcansky (Musical Director), Alberto Santos-Bellido (Lighting Design), Annie Hiner (Costume Design), Paul Brotherson (Assistant Director).
Maite Delafin, Kathleen Downie, Rodrigo Malvar, Jonathan Peck, Anna Porubcansky.
Running time: 

As humans we are inherently hungry. Hungry for love, desire, security and violence and of course, the substance vital to our survival, food. With the media increasingly telling us what to eat, how much to eat and how to cook it, food is at the forefront of everyone’s mind, yet is it the hunger for the fuel we need or the other hungers of the human disposition that are most important to us? Company of Wolves return with their provocative piece ‘Seven Hungers’ challenging our perception of human hunger and desire and the blurred lines between them.

In their usual style Company of Wolves use enchanting choral singing, contact improvisation and physical score to explore hunger through their bodies and vocals. Beginning with audience interaction to investigate the cravings of the public, the piece spirals into a frantic search of what makes us hungry and how we satisfy that need. With songs from Circassia, Chechnya and Ukraine and a excerpt from MFK Fisher’s ‘The Gastronomical Me’ the seven hungers of eye, nose, mouth, stomach, mind, cellular, and heart hunger are discovered and fragmented to pose us with the question “What are we hungry for?”.

In a slightly more light-hearted approach from usual Company of Wolves ease the audience into the performance with humorous listings of the desired foods in the room. The build up into the piece is deftly executed with overlapping whispers, the introduction of non-food substances into the hunger list and finally bursting into an indulgent and powerful bout of choral singing. The frantic movement sequences of diner table interactions and later an almost cannibalistic ritual scene were faultlessly unnerving, evolving into something animalistic that confronted our most basic needs.

At times however these did seem go on for too long although admittedly the build up to the singing did require time to allow the growth of the movement sequence. The use of a loop pedal and microphone added another unsettling dimension allowing satanic voices and ear piercing sounds to surround the cannibalistic actions, contrasting with sensual breathing and singing for the sequences exploring tenderness, desire and love. At times the transitions were a little abrupt, particularly for some of the singing however the enchanting passion portrayed as their voices filled the entire room allowed this to be forgiven. Overall a striking piece of experimental physical work into one of our most basic needs, ‘Seven Hungers’ is a piece that should not be missed.