“Seismic Performance in A Shifting World”
Thursday 10th March 2016 19.45
Conceived and Directed by Kevin Finnan
Choreographed by Kevin Finnan with The Company & Claire Benson
Digital Imagery by Logela Multimedia
Original Music by Sophy Smith and Tim Dickenson
Set Design by Simon Dorman
Dancers (six from …):
I’ve been waiting years to use cthonic in a review. And here we are, underground, seismic indeed. The integration of projected digital imagery is a technical triumph, and it’s the light show of the late 60s taken to its ultimate possibilities. You’d go just for that.
At Poole Lighthouse this evening, an 80s Package Tour was in the concert hall next to the theatre, one of those rare occasions when Poole is running two things I wanted to see simultaneously. I was pleased we opted for the theatre, because the electronic soundtrack to this was gloriously powerful and absorbing. I’m sure we had the better music, even if pre-recorded.
The set is a series of vertical fabric flaps forming the projection screen, so dancers can dive through it, pipes protrude near invisibly through for dancers to swing on, platforms can be lowered, cloth can billow through.
Then you have six dancers working with all this in perfect timing to the visuals and sound. They’re acrobatic and athletic to Cirque du Soleil levels, before we even address the dancing. They work as a team, melding into each other, forming shapes. Five motionless clinging to one of the poles running floor to ceiling while one dances, two swinging from cloths, three women standing on each other’s shoulders, not only the men lifting the women, but the women lifting the men too. We both compared it to the London Contemporary Dance Theatre’s Stages in the 1970s as a benchmark.
They also act … facial expressions are powerful, and there is a narrative all connected to the earth, subterranean movements, ending in a cityscape with doll’s house room projection then the final., stunning earthquake sequence. Before that we have had an ethereal woman – who appears to be a floating gold frock … in a plastic globe that inflates and is carried, a sequence based on the Chilean miners underground with dreamlike wives, a woman with a fire in a deep red underground cave while a shadow dancing behind her is met by other shadowy shapes or spirits, a couple in bed before the earthquake. Seventy minutes (no interval) flew by.
They should go and look at the concession stand outside the 80s concert in the next auditorium. Motionhouse had a table with programmes, DVDs and CDs and sweatshirts and dance gear. They kept saying “This will not be open after the show.” What? I’m not going to buy a CD or DVD of a show I know nothing about in advance. They could definitely have sold me a CD and probably a DVD afterwards. Not being open after the show is madness … don’t bother at all, then. Also the programmes “They cost £3 or £4 … it’s £4 if you want to donate an extra pound.” To my shame, I opted for £3, but again, in advance I had no idea that it would be so brilliant.
And yet again we ask why Poole only booked one night for a show where you want to go home, phone people and say “You must see this.” Poole has been first rate for dance for years now, but these single dance shows mean a week in the theatre blocked off, so that their winter drama season consists of three thrillers, all short runs. They need to have a dance festival perhaps, and get more dance theatre shows closer together, thus freeing up the theatre for more plays.