Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Still Current, Russell Maliphant

Still Current, featuring a programme of work by Choreographer Russell Maliphant, is a collective interplay of movement, light and sound. It is quite simply spell-binding. The award-winning Afterlight (Part One) the solo Two, dazzle with the trickery of long exposure photography as limbs turn to quicksilver, inspired by the photographs of the dancer Nijinsky. Still Current draws on contemporary, ballet and martial arts, featuring lighting design by Michael Hulls, an eclectic sound-mix by long-time collaborators Andy Cowton and Mukul, with the plangent music of Eric Satie. Dancers Thomasin Gulgec, Dickson Mbi and Carys Staton join Maliphant, whose Shaman presence and fluid style, transcends and touches the stars. 

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Lest We Forget, ENB, Barbican

Lest We Forget at the Barbican is an inspired thematic programme to mark the centenary of the WW1, but it’s also a good deal more than this. Through the architecture of Liam Scarlett’s No Man’s Land, with stunning design by Jon Bausor, the dramatic shifts in Russell Maliphant’s Second Breath to Akram Khan’s Dust with Sander Loonen's raised, red dust design, its cultural context is rich and varied. Khan’s signature choreography - his serpentine, linked arms, his communal, ritualistic uniformity - never looked so good; matched by the percussive, evocative rhythms of Jocelyn Pook’s original score. These choreographic motifs are explored independently by Scarlett and Malphant earlier, adding to the production's heightened expressionistic style. The final image of dancer, Tamara Rojo, as she spins out of a waltz step, alone, shows Dance as a simple metaphor for life, a glimpsed moment, grandly squandered or heroically given.......Lest We Forget catapults English National Ballet, under the inspired directorship of Rojo, onto an international platform........

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Translations by Brian Friel

Still packs a punch.......Friel's exquisite theatrical exploration of the interstices between language, identity and history, nearly thirty-five years on, is a model of craft and ingenuity. Hugh O'Donnell, school-master of the hedge school, Baile Beg, Northern Ireland enters drunk after the birth of Nellie Rua's baby at the play's beginning and is drunk from the baby's wake at the end. Between times his family become divided as local lass, Maire, falls in love with Yolland (James Northcote) a sapper employed, along with O'Donnell's son Owen, to anglicise place names to produce Ireland's first Ordinance Survey. Later Yolland  goes missing. James Grieve's direction is sharply intuitive, Lucy Osborne's design the perfect frame, while the acting is superlative, headed by Niall Buggy as the irrepressible Hugh.....  

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Tracks directed by John Curran, Mia Wasikowska, Adam Driver

Adapted from Robyn Davidson's memoirs, Tracks, is the story of one women's trek across a forbidding Australian backdrop from Alice Springs to the Indian Ocean. In tow, and the crux for Davidson, are four camels and her faithful dog. Stubbornly simplistic in her outlook, Robyn (Mia Wasikowska) shies away from photographer Rick Smolan (Adam Driver) who records her journey for National Geographic, and in moments of anger the increased interest of well-wishers who want to take her picture. Through sacred aboriginal terrain she is accompanied by an elder, Mr Eddie - women are not permitted to roam free or kill wildlife - where each earns the respect of the other. The pace is expertly handled by director John Curran, while Marion Nelson's unobtrusive script gives Davidson's account central focus. This is an absorbing and moving film, in the slow revelation of Davidson's background, her complex relationship with Smolan and in the progress towards her goal.