Walking Without Travelling / Rest less me / Maker-Do
Sat 07 Jan 06
Walking Without Travelling is less a journey than an accumulation of sounds and images. There’s recorded text about going north, arriving, going south. There’s live speech: a woman recites some numbers, and says, ‘Tell Laura I love her’. There are projections: plants, cityscapes, pebbles. And there is Anaïs Bouts’s choreography for the four dancers: sweeps across the stage, some nicely crafted staggered formations and, oddly, a tango. Near the end, a guy tells a lady in red that there’s nothing in her head but a pebble. Narrative fragmentation and free association may not be such a good idea if they leave the audience trying to get blood out of a stone.
Rest less me is also based on fragmented stories and images, but could not be more different. It splices together the personal memories of choreographer Annie Pui Ling Lok and dancer Shamita Ray. But you needn’t know about these origins for the piece to work its magic. It is performed in silence, its only décor a taped square on stage. The opening section is built from little skips and turns, motifs that accumulate almost mathematically into a game of choreographic hopscotch. Subsequent sections follow the same pattern with different material: over-the-shoulder glances, swizzling on the spot, writing on an imaginary blackboard. The stark choreography is saturated with connotations, and Ray delivers an understated but highly focused performance. A real pleasure.
And now for something completely different. Maker-Do is a physical comedy sketch show for five women by Suzy Harvey. There are a lot of sight gags – some truly funny, like the party waitresses who turn into flamenco dancers, fingers elongated with breadsticks, carrot slices and celery sprigs. Chasing the beacon of light entertainment, they run through bits of salsa, jive and ballet. There are plenty of neat ideas, but the erratic pacing lacks the timing comedy needs.
w@ver / The Edge of words / Rapproach'ment
Mon 16 Jan 06
With its luxuriously embroidered costumes and ornamental fans, W@ver may look iridescent, but the piece itself is decidedly lacklustre. Choreographer Baoyin Hinh says it depicts a journey from heaven to earth. Granted, there’s a projected moon, mists, an angelic choir on the soundtrack. Baoyin undulates gracefully, her diaphanous pink fans fluttering like celestial jellyfish. Three other glistening women rather dutifully execute some mid-paced modern dance manoeuvres. The music quickens. The dancers don’t. There is an elusive stand-off between swathes of pink and blue fabric. Short and sweet? Undoubtedly. Decorative? Very. But heaven, earth? Hell, no.
Abi Cook’s The Edge of Words is an inventive and boldly conceived work, given a compelling performance by Elinor Baker. Mostly she faces away from us, her backless cocktail dress exposing the taut, twisting muscles of her shoulders. Her arms jab sideways and upwards simultaneously, they lash about her torso and yank her head, or reach like tendrils towards a distant glow of light. She’s anxious, introspective, tugged about by her own limbs. The music begins with ominous, spluttering rhythms, quietening to plaintive broken piano chords. The one wrong note in this otherwise excellent piece is the finale. Julie London sings ‘Cry Me a River’, and Baker’s gestures now match the words – a reassuringly easy correspondence that tames the wilder currents preceding it.
The first part of Verticil Productions’ Rapproach’ment, to Bach cello music, comprises short solos, duets and ensembles that show off the dancers’ leggy ballet. The busy choreography doesn’t really gel until the closing group dance, an inventive composition which finally gets to grips with the musical phrasing. The second part, to Aphex Twin, suits its music better. A voyeuristic story of a woman and two men in a hotel room, intercutting energetic live action with a film projection, it’s slick, rather sleazy entertainment.
This article first appeared in Resolution!Review on the Place website. Click here to read two reviews for each night of Resolution!