The Chicken and the Egg Dance Company - 'Action is the Enemy of Thought'; Soap Box - 'Bizarre Interludes'; The Boo Project - 'Green Belt'
by Elizabeth Schwyzer
January 10, 2005 -- Robin Howard Theatre, The Place, London
A stage littered with shopping bags greeted last night’s Resolution! audience. The Chicken and the Egg Dance Company used props-galore to help unpack such wide-ranging themes of consumerism, self-confrontation, and nothingness. Unfortunately, any deeper investigation into the emptiness of life in the wake of media messages and shopping sprees was buried under a cascade of empty juice boxes. "Action is the enemy of thought" was a clever, well-rehearsed duet with moments of spot-on comic timing and pleasing partnering, but too many props and devices bogged it down. For all their smooth transitions and inventive weight sharing, they leaned too heavily on a flimsy script that was sometimes inaudible or rushed. Both dancers moved with fluidity and control—I wanted to see more. Maybe their chosen title lead them astray; surely dancers aim to integrate action and thought, rather than divorce them.
Soap Box, on the other hand, hit the nail on the head with their choice of title. "Bizarre Interludes" was precisely that: a strangely amorphous, uncertain gathering of movements without focus. Accompanied by a live musician on stage, three women and one man alternated between short, disconnected dances and moments of stillness, often squatting in pairs and watching each other. Awkward contact work and tenuous unison seemed initially to take its inspiration from the music, but failed to develop before a canned recording replaced live xylophone and rain stick. Bizarre Interludes wasn’t without moments of beauty—notably a lovely recurring splaying of toes—but self-conscious glances and forced pauses gave it stilted, amateurish flavour.
Another quartet, the Boo Project took to the stage with an explosion of virtuosic ballet boy action, then simmered down to two couples, who faced the audience as they battled their way through lovers’ quarrels on their own turf—astro-turf, that is. Limited by their respective rectangles of green and by the imposition of a full-frontal focus, the two women in particular seemed stifled at first. But as the emotive classical score built towards crescendo, their gyrating torsos and needle-sharp legs stabbed out into space. Musically literal and predictably gendered, Green Belt was nevertheless technically tasty, and finished, as it started, with a satisfying flash.
Elizabeth Schwzyer's article was written for Resolution! Review on the Place's website. For more, click here: Resolution! Review.
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