MK ULTRA at The Studio, Birmingham Rep

Rosie Kay’s dance company is back with a new dance piece centralising on one of the biggest conspiracy theories of all time, MK Ultra. Mk ultra is the theory that the secret cult, Illuminati and the internationally known company, Disney are working together to create a brainwashing experiment in which they can control people. This goes as far as saying some of the biggest celebrities in the world are controlled by the illuminati including Britney Spears, Lady Gaga and Beyoncé.

Rosie Kay is one of the leading choreographers in the country and never shies away from delving into complex and often challenging subjects, Mk Ultra is no different. Filled with strange symbols, flashing images and disturbing interviews, this dance piece is extremely unnerving to watch, however at the same time strangely hypnotic. I found no matter how much I wanted to look away, I had to know what was going to happen next.

Mk Ultra is performed by seven extraordinary dancers, who move with such force around the stage that brings an element of chaos to the performance.  However, as the performance continues this chaos seems to be controlled by the “brainwashing” of the illuminati. This is unsettling to watch, as what we deem as freewill is being questioned. The movements and images made by the dancers were incredible to watch, creating large ensemble motifs which clearly resembled parts of cult ceremonies which the illuminati are known for.

The dancers were themselves a work of art, dressed in amazingly stunning body suits covered in symbols and designs. These creations were designed by Gard Card. Rosie Kay also collaborated with Louis Price to create the visual aspects of this piece. This included creating the projections of distorted images of Alice in wonderland, Wizard of Oz and the celebrity lifestyle. This overshadows the entire piece bringing a sense of foreboding which cannot be escaped, even more so when projected onto the illuminati triangle.

Overall, Mk Ultra is an unsettling performance to watch for the audience, however for theorists and conspiracies believers this piece really highlights how the Mk Ultra experiments could affects every part of our own lives. Yet for an audience that has never heard of MK Ultra or the illuminati it is an eyes opening experience. After watching MK Ultra, it definitely leaves the audience asking the question is there somebody controlling the way we live our lives?    ★★★★☆   Georgina Randall  18th March 2017