“Artist” feels too small a word to describe William Kentridge. “King collaborator”, or perhaps “theatrical savant” is closer to the mark. The South African mastermind behind Refuse the Hour , a multi-disciplinary “chamber opera” (although this is also a woefully inadequate description) is a rare combination: fearlessly ambitious, ferociously intelligent and just the right amount of reckless. In the pursuit of his creative vision, Kentridge has cherry picked an impressively large ensemble of composers, musicians, dancers, designers and dramaturges – co-conspirators who share a similarly fantastical vision of the world. Together they have assembled an anarchic yet carefully considered production that resists fitting into any single pigeonhole.

While there is no conventional narrative as such, Refuse the Hourexplores various concepts of time. This premise might sound simple enough, but Kentridge’s musings sprawl across cosmic distances and ancient cultures, posing questions that try to reconcile the academic sterility of scientific fact with the ineffable expanses of the human imagination. A nostalgic anecdote about hearing the ancient Greek myth of Perseus as a child trickles into a lecture about the time-travelling quality of the speed of light. A description of entropy and the universe’s predilection for...