Zero Point @ The Barbican Theatre Review

Choreographer and visual artist Darren Johnston’s main inspiration for his latest work Zero Point can be traced back to a residency he had at The Museum of Art, Kochi. His time in Japan would allow for him to visit sacred temples and to also learn about certain disciplines such as Butoh and Qigong.

Courtesy of The Barbican.

Courtesy of The Barbican.

Zero Point is a visual theatre piece with a multitude of key themes. Johnston explores the  eastern notion of rebirth, the concept of the ’empty space’, an idea Peter Brook would go on and speak about further and an idea within Quantum Physics which talks about the energy within a resting space. These ideas indicate the complexity of Zero Point. Every individual moment thought about and intricately placed together.


Zero Point isn’t a piece solely placing a focus on the dance aspect, rather it marries sound, lighting and video peojection design to give its audience a multi disciplinary experience, and this is exciting. Johnston’s choreography respects the contemporary discipline of Butoh, the evening’s quality bearing the sustained of the discipline. Dancers steadily travel through the space, careful in making sure every step makes its mark. The evening also takes on the energy of Qigong, an ancient Chinese art form known for its meditative qualities. The show sustains a steady quality, making for a hypnotic evening.


I-Shun Lee‘s lighting design pushes the boundaries as to what can be achieved; silhouetted dancers, pyramids and harsh bright lights are just a few examples of Lee’s artistry. Lighting is one of the main forces within the production, further making the evening an experience like no other. Andrew Monks and Gael Abegg-Gauthey‘s projection designs are to be applauded. The dancers are the canvases to pixalated images, the evening showing an appreciation more so to the technology on display rather than the dancers. Considering the evening incorporates traditional art forms, there is a progressive nature about the show, and this is mainly due to the idea of technology taking centrestage rather than the performers.


Tim Hecker completes this multi disciplinary experience with his otherworldly score. Hecker’s compositions, an overriding cloud overseeing the show’s uniqueness with its bold and atmospheric rhythms. Zero Point is a genre bending piece with plenty of ideas. The evening’s pace however remains at a continual one and therefore choreographically doesn’t surprise as much as it could. 3/5

Review written by Lucy Basaba.

Zero Point was shown at the Barbican Theatre from Thursday 25th until Saturday 27th May 2017. For more information on Darren Johnston, visit here…

Written by Theatrefullstop