Tag Archives: DanceHouse

Paradise Lost (lies unopened beside me)

(reviewed at the Jerwood DanceHouse, Ipswich on 1 June)

Lost Dog bills Ben Duke’s show as based on Milton’s epic poem. You can add a brisk canter through both the Old and New Testaments to that, though owing more to Monty Python than to Wycliffe or Thomas Cranmer. Duke begins with the sort of faux-naïf introduction which always sets my teeth on edge; there’s an art to pretend bumbling which he hasn’t yet quite mastered.

It all takes a long time to get going with musical snatches of everything from Handel to Philip Glass via Richard Strauss and Janis Joplin played at a near-ear splitting volume. The water deluge is effective (one feels heartily relieved not to be on the stage management team for this show) and so is some of the subversion of received texts.

Unfortunately it’s not always clear just what the individual mime sequences are meant to represent. The running time is something over an hour; someone needs to cast a cold directorial eye on the piece – and then wield a sharp pair of scissors.

Pulse continues in Ipswich at various venues until 6 June.

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Filed under Ballet & dance, Reviews 2015

Idiot-Syncrasy

(reviewed at the Jerwood DanceHouse, Ipswich on 1 June)

It’s all enagingly apparently so simple. Two young men, wearing tank-tops, jeans and trainers stand side by side in front of three stepped white curtains. Their eyes keep contact with those of their audience; they sing a short phrase then, after a pause, another. And another. Very very slowly a foot rhythm accompaniment develops.

This is turn enlarges itself into a toe-heel stomp; Igor Urzelai and Moreno Solinas remaining all the time side by side. The stomping continues as they begin to shift position – behind each other, behind the curtains, into the auditorium. Tops and jeans, socks and shoes are neatly discarded (the rhythm never falters) to reveal tee-shirts and beach shorts.

Finally the performers engage face to face, embrace and ride piggyback. The influences are apparently Basque and Sardinian folk traditions; I sensed also something of native Latin American and African tribal dance and can’t be the only audience members forcibly reminded of the ritual elements in Le sacré du printemps.

The show’s title – Idiot-Syncrasy – sums it up with self-deprecatingly charm.if it steps into a theatre near you, it’s worth your while to catch it.

The Pulse Festival continues in Ipswich until 6 June.

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Filed under Ballet & dance, Reviews 2015