Embrace, Royal Botanic Garden, Review

Rating (out of 5)
Show details
Vision Mechanics
Director / designer: Kim Bergsagel, Film: Robbie Thomson, Music : Ewan Macintyre, Costumes: Cleo Rose McCabe
Storyteller: Kim Bergsagel, Aerial Performer: Rachael Macintyre, Danuta Ramos, Dancer: Kirsten Newell.
Running time

Excitement builds for the latest audience of Vision Mechanics’ current site-specific production as they are guided through a dark forest with only torchlight for guidance. Embrace is on a Scottish tour not of theatres, but of outdoor forests, of which, they have chosen the beautiful Royal Botanic Gardens for the capital. The audience are lead through muddy paths, leafy trees and woodland on a chilly autumn night (so wrap up warm if you get your chance to see the sell-out show).

Embrace is inspired by the story of Amrita Devi the original “tree hugger”. In 1730 she was beheaded by the Indian state as she tried to protect trees in her village as part of an environmental protest. She has inspired many others around the world and her legacy continues to protect the environment today, which we so often neglect. This message however does, at times, stray a little off topic as the performance discusses a vast amount of other issues the world faces instead of focusing on one. The audience are guided through an already stunning location to find more hidden gems and are met by a rather enthusiastic storyteller and environmentalist, Kim Bergsagel who is the creator and director behind the production.

Through innovative and interactive live art, lighting displays, music, dance, animation and film Begsagel’s storytelling is brought to life. The most remarkable location is when the audience are met with tree spirits. Aerial performers (Rachael Macintyre and Danuta Ramos) glow in the dark performing in hoops attached to the backdrop of a tree. Their artistry, power and skill is extremely impressive and adds spectacle to the event. The audience are also met by an Indian dancer (Kirsten Newell) who performs whilst the audience warm up with a hot cup of Masala Chai.

Embrace asks us: how far are we prepared to go to stand up for our beliefs? It presents us with the current problems, if a little in your face at times, and embraces the revolutionists who have already done so. Despite a rather flaky story this production is a rich experience and through a vast amount of creative images, brings the imagination to life.

Run 8-11 October