Review: Ghosts of the Near Future

How to disappear completely

theatre review (edinburgh) | Read in About 2 minutes
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Ghosts of the Near Future
Photo by Jemima Yong
Published 07 Aug 2022

It begins with a white rabbit suit; somewhere in the middle, there’s a hot dog; towards the end, talk of an apple tree. Ghosts of the Near Future unravels – very loosely – a magician’s great disappearing act of only the entire world. Through storytelling, music, moving image, and text, duo emma + pj bring an uncharacteristic warmth to our own extinction. It explores what it means for us to disappear and to grieve that very disappearance before, during, and after the fact. Bizarrely, it achieves this with great joy and, occasionally, in gold sequins. 

Magic is all about leaving the audience out (right?) but, here, a warmer welcome wouldn’t necessarily go amiss. At times, it’s somewhat lonely – they’re in on this fractured, macabre joke and all its slippery narrative points while we’re seemingly not. But this might be the point: perhaps, terrifyingly, this is how it will feel when we all eventually disappear – lost, confused and alone but somehow together. The disorientation is beautifully haunting. 

With projected text left unspoken and moving image often zoomed in to a point of almost obscurity, a particular intimacy is offered. The combination gives us something to latch on to; that ‘something’ is sometimes grounding, other times it’s as if it’s violently hurtling through the show's Las Vegas desert. Regardless, this ‘something’ is a gift – one that latches on to us, as much as us to it. It's one of many aspects which contribute to the show’s commitment to a strange but increasingly necessary form of comfort.