No Fun (A-)
No Fun is a collaborative rock/dance piece created and choreographed by Helen Simard. The show declares itself to be intense from the outset as one of the dancers moves through the line of people gathered to see the show, handing out earplugs. (I was glad later that I accepted them). The programme announces that this show “isn’t about anything,” and while it’s true that the show doesn’t have a narrative to follow, I don’t think that it’s about nothing. It is a spectacle about spectacle, specifically the spectacle and communal experience of rock. Three musicians and four dancers manage to recreate the impression of a rock concert, with all of the hip thrusting and piercing screams and bodily gyrations that entails. The blenders at the side of the stage might seem random, but what is more like a human blender than a rock concert or a mosh pit? The movement gives the impression of chaos but it’s clear that the performers are always in control, which is a difficult and delicate balance to hit. And contrary to what the title suggests, it is one of my favourite shows so far.
Chase Scenes #1-58 (B+)
This production is exactly what it sounds like: 58 chase scenes enacted by four dancers. There is everything from a woman running away from a pursuer in a park to the kinds of dreams where you need to run but you find yourself immobilized, to action sequences from films re-enacted in the theatre. The dancers are filmed during the production and projected on to screens around the room, magnifying the experience. This is an intense show to watch, especially if you are easily overwhelmed and there was a point about ten minutes in when I wondered if I might have to leave, but that actually speaks to how incredibly effectively the show seems is at pulling off its intended effect. Watching people run inspires all sorts of different emotions, some anxiety-inducing, some of which are thrilling. There is some audience participation, so if you are shy about that sort of things make sure not to sit in the front rows.
Conceived by Kate Nankervis, Horizon is an ensemble conceptual movement piece. It is five hours long, and the audience is free to come and go as they choose. The broad governing themes seem to be reflection, both literal and figurative, collective movement with action and reaction and the ways in which these things are framed and limited by time. The show itself cultivates a serene atmosphere with projections of past versions of the dancers on the walls and pieces of gossamer-esque curtain hanging around the door and throughout the room. The dancers themselves were very in tune with each other and extremely deliberate, which takes impressive muscle control and focus. The performers create also an interesting contrast with the audience, where I felt almost clunky and in the way, although the show is set up to allow the audience to move through the space. The result is an interesting reflection on time and space.
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