Shock, horror, probe! Clement Crisp doesn't enjoy a Tanztheater performance. Why does the FT torture him this way? Old dogs, no new tricks
By Clement Crisp
FT.com site; Dec 02, 2002
Ars longa, we are told. And never more interminably longa than with Pina Bausch's Kontakthof, which turned up at the end of the week at the Barbican. This is the Theatre of Tedium, the subjugation of an audience by boredom, narcolepsy as (huh!) art.
Twenty years ago, this study in the games people play (though these never rise above the level of Noughts and Crosses) had a certain maniac credibility because Bausch's cast were professionals, adept at moving and at endowing even the most stupefying moments with a sardonic wink.
Now the piece has been revised and lumbered with a cast of senior citizens from Wuppertal, where Bausch has her lair. Beloved parents and grandparents, men and women of mature and fascinating experience they may well be, but - dear heaven - performers they ain't, not even with imagination stretched to the utmost.
They are required to trudge and scuttle over the stage (that trotting motion seen as the elderly hasten for a bus); to indulge in slap and tickle; to talk (mein Gott, der eccents are as thick as vun of your London pea-zoupers). The grey-suited men are, shall we say, willing but theatrically insecure. The women offer powerful evidence that couture and coiffure have passed them by. click for more