Villains review: A live comic book that challenges the representation of evil

Dublin Fringe Festival: Slick visuals and engaging performances reveal how evil is not always a force to be battled

Villains: a richly textured live graphic novel presented through dance and animation. Photograph: Emily Terndrup

Villains: a richly textured live graphic novel presented through dance and animation. Photograph: Emily Terndrup

 

VILLAINS

Project Arts Centre
★★★★☆
Though the staging is visually black-and-white, the morality in Luke Murphy’s dance is problematically grey. Video projections create a live comic book, framing the immediately familiar goodies and baddies. But it’s a dichotomy that is slowly unpicked through slick visuals, well-judged choreography and engaging performances. Richly textured with literary examples – from etymology to philosophy – the dance reveals how evil is not always a force to be battled, but can be conceptualised as a tool to justify wars, oppression and violence.

Villains are often simply different: scapegoats magnified in contemporary society through political populism and the bell-jar of social media. And in these polarised times, it is all the more important to look past the outward image and representation of evil. Whereas medieval forms of public humiliation once provided punishment, it was eliminated because, unlike a quick death, shame lasted forever. These days shame is an unwelcome, but easily earned by-product in the search for online attention.

Runs at the Dublin Fringe Festival until Friday, September 13th