Tuesday, 26 February 2013

2Faced Dance

Out of his Skin, 2Faced Dance Company, The Place - reviewed on 23rd February

2Faced Dance Company
Photo by Brian Slater
Four square-shaped pillars support two ledges to form an oversized shelving unit in which a man sits, hunched up and shaking. The stage is dark except for a flashing bulb which intermittently reveals the performer's enraged visage. Wearing a black boiler suit, his movements become larger and increasingly aggressive, but we see only his pale face and hands moving in the darkness. A stirring soundscape of both music and electronic sound accompanies, but it is the terrifying thump as he falls backwards from the upper ledge that makes most impact.
 

On the stage floor, five similarly-dressed dancers then join him and march prisoner-like in and out of squares of light. Choreography develops, increasing in hostility and pace before returning to slow and restrained movements. Throughout, there is an overwhelming sense of oppression as dancers attempt furiously to escape the literal enclosures of light, furniture and costume onstage, and by implication the metaphorical enclosure of ordinary life.

2Faced Dance is a small but talented all-male company. They climb both the shelving unit and other dancers’ bodies with incredible strength and agility, and convey powerfully an inner anger that is both alarming and enticing.
 
Choreographer Tamsin Fitzgerald describes her inspiration for Out of his Skin as people’s increasing need to take risks in modern day life. But the piece feels like a meditation on the frustration of the mundane rather than a choreographic investigation into risk-taking. Its unceasing aggression and repetitive movements also give a feeling of monotony, which although interesting to explore, does not make for an engaging theatrical experience.
 
Nevertheless, I found myself smiling once again at dance’s capacity to inspire; a boy aged five or six in the row in front seemed utterly captivated as he leaned forward in his seat and copied the dancers’ arm patterns.

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