(theatre O - Barbican/UK Tour)

ASTRONAUT / Barbican and National Touring

‘Visually thrilling theatre. Theatre O excel at synchronised performance. There are stunning moments when sound and movement come together with perfect, compelling rhythmic precision. The performances are beautifully detailed’

‘the play blasts off into an exotic and fascinating sphere. With just their physical presence and a few pieces of furniture, the cast bring centrifuges, space capsules, launch pads and landing modules to the stage of the Pit. It’s quite a trip.’
Evening Standard

‘brimming with good ideas, heavily pregnant with well-judged symbolism, and it contains several passages of physical theatre that are choreographed to perfection.’
The Scotsman

‘When it clicks into a rhythm, ‘Astraonut’ is a beauty. Vilamitjana’s choreography is a joy – her dance with Arteaga in front of ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ is a moment of rare beauty. Director Joseph Alford co-opts an atmospheric soundtrack, dominated by Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood, to help create a domestic world where anything outside the family unit is mechanical: TV’s, automated phone hotlines, and the monolithic white fridge (another ‘2001’ reference) that seems to be developing a mind of its own.’
Time Out, London

‘There are few opportunities to see physical theatre companies of the quality of theatre O’
The British Theatre Review

‘The physical movement complements the narrative drama and there are some gorgeously fluid transitional phrases, particularly from Eva Vilamitjana, playing the wife… Our hilarious protagonist Toni Arteaga looks and dances like a Spanish Mr Bean crossed with Lee Evans… and this 2.1 family is struggling to control its own destiny at the centre of their own irrational cosmos.’
The Stage

‘… unlike their last show The Argument, the action often manages to escape the shackles of storydom and enjoys instead the extraordinary richness of Theatre O's attention to detail, physical ability and newfound technological innovation (their pioneering use of sound cue systems by Orbital meant they had to do a special show for geeks...) Toni Arteaga -- who plays an everyday man picked out of the blue to go to Mars on a space mission -- is unspeakably brilliant with what he does with so little, managing at points a characterisation that goes so far beyond the grotesque it's thrillingly clear no-one in the room knows where they are any more. With such spellbinding light and sound design in accompaniment, these moments mean Astronaut remains an unmissable delight.’

as-tro-naut n - somebody trained to travel and perform tasks in space

X - a letter “X” or an “X”- shaped mark used to represent an unknown quantity, an unnamed person, or any unknown or unspecified factor or thing

This is the story of an awakening, of exploring universes, of discovery, adventure and other activities for the living room. This is the story of X, an astronaut who never goes to space. When X is plucked from obscurity and chosen to be part of the ESA’s first manned flight to Mars, everything changes. The drabness of his former life disappears and his existence transforms into one of near godlike proportions. He feels that he has been reborn. His family feels otherwise.

Told from the points of view of both X and his daughter, Valentina, Astronaut is testament to the fact that most of the longest journeys take place closest to home.

theatre O tell the story of X and his family with their unique blend of movement, text, sound and the imagination, bringing to life a world in which the unknown is all there is.

Choreographer - Eva Vilamitjana
Designer (lighting) - Katharine Williams
Designer (set/costume) - Simon Daw
Designer (sound) - Gareth Fry
Director - Joseph Alford
Devisers/Performers - Carolina Valdés, Eva Vilamitjana, Toni Arteaga
Producer - Michael Brazier (Glynis Henderson Productions)
Stage Manager - Lucy McMahon
Writer - Andrea Valdés & The Company