Insomniac Productions, L’Ascensore (The Lift)

Review in Issue 5-1 | Spring 1993

L’Ascensore is set in a beautifully reproduced art-deco lift, in a hotel in Little Italy, Lower East Side, 1947. A ‘third rate’ mafia hit-man takes the lift to the top floor to commit the murder that he hopes will gain him entrance in with the big boys, only to return to the lift to be stabbed by the Moll that put him up to it. The lift then becomes the site of a metaphysical transportation as our hit man is taken on his last hellish journey. He is forced to confront moments of his past as the lift doors open to reveal a series of spectacular visions.

Behind the lift, the space is vast, the lighting surreal, and the characters float and hurtle through space as if in a hallucination or nightmare. In turn the spectacular gives way to the intimate as we witness the emotive mourning of our hero’s family. In L’Ascensore, the lift truly becomes the central focus, skillfully marrying the form and content of the piece. If at times it becomes structurally irritating, as we become too familiar with its continual opening and closing, we are able to ignore such an irritation, on the grounds that it is such a clever, simple and effective idea, creating a visually stunning and provocative piece of theatre.

From the issue 5-1 collection of reviews, written by Jackie Adkins, Sarah Dawson, Desmond Jones, Jonathan Megaw, Shani Solomons, Brendan Stapleton and Paul Vates.

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Issue 5-1
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