Secret Solstice

Venue: York Theatre Royal

It was with apprehension that I followed a shadowy-eyed young girl into the lifts of the Piccadilly Car Park on Friday night, with only a torch to guide my way. As the doors opened onto the top storey, I saw why the torch was necessary: the car park was completely black.

One by one, lights lit up all across the concrete car park and it was then left to the audience to navigate their way around this promenade style piece performed by the York Youth Theatre Royal company.

The ten different ‘sunspots’ scattered around the car park each told a different story of the creation or mythology surrounding the sun, coming from different countries across the world.

The piece was fitting, then, for its inclusion in the ‘Illuminating York 2008’ festival, which highlights the beauty and history of York by night. The young cast were vibrant and full of energy, embodying the vigour that young actors have the potential to express, and justifying the inclusion of youth theatre in this festival.

The production was innovative, but it seemed that some ideas struggled to be realised, particularly the use of dance in the final section.

Overall, this piece was well worth a watch. Most impressive was the ambitious use of outdoor space. The eerie, dark setting of the production served to emphaise the blazing brilliance of the element under discussion: the sun.

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