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At The End We Begin – Barbican Theatre, Plymouth

Music: Samuel Hall Choreographer: Richard Chappell Reviewer: Karen Bussell Inspired by T. S. Eliot’s Four Quartets, Rambert and Royal Ballet-trained and internationally acclaimed Richard Chappell has created a four-part, four-handed moody and dynamic dance. Based in Devon and London, Richard Chappell Dance is a five-year-old project-based collaborative company which aims to challenge the boundaries between classic ballet and contemporary dance. Add a smattering of marital arts, gymnastics and capoeira, a thick, unrelieved dark stage and the focus can be on nothing but the intense piece. Although in four parts, the movement is – of necessity given the theme -  similar…

Review Overview

The Reviews Hub Score

Mesmerising

Music: Samuel Hall

Choreographer: Richard Chappell

Reviewer: Karen Bussell

Inspired by T. S. Eliot’s Four Quartets, Rambert and Royal Ballet-trained and internationally acclaimed Richard Chappell has created a four-part, four-handed moody and dynamic dance.

Based in Devon and London, Richard Chappell Dance is a five-year-old project-based collaborative company which aims to challenge the boundaries between classic ballet and contemporary dance. Add a smattering of marital arts, gymnastics and capoeira, a thick, unrelieved dark stage and the focus can be on nothing but the intense piece.

Although in four parts, the movement is – of necessity given the theme –  similar throughout with little heralding the breaks between pieces creating an exhausting 50-minutes for the company who twist and writhe, strut and flow to Samuel Hall’s soaring and blaring piano and cello score.

Opening with a visceral solo from B-Boy Robert Anderson, Burnt Norton sensitively explores the anguishes of maintaining sense of self and innocence in a landscape of overwhelming creative choices while East Coker examines the effect of personal precious moments in finding one’s place in the aggressive wider non-stop world with repeating patterns and new variation.   

Moving from the personal to a broader dynamic, The Dry Salvages illustrates the impetus of individual inspiration and tenacity for group power with wave-like pas de deux and trois illustrative of Eliot’s poetry of rivers joining with seas and the resulting force on the granite shoreline of consciousness. Faye Stoeser brings her voguing battling, jazz and street style background to bear as Institut del Teatre,  Barcelona trained Iris Borras Anglada and Chappell test fluidity and cohesion.

Finally Little Gidding, brings Chappell’s musings full circle in quieter reflection but with an overriding sense that, although the journey may better inform the starting point, further forays into the unknown are ahead.

Dramaturg Neus Gil Cortes has a clear story in mind but in an intimate setting the audience is challenged to know whether the looks between the performers are part of the tale or weighing up the split second timing and distance required for some of the rather intricate balance and entwining moves.

Tremendous chemistry and interesting, unpredictive choreography.

Reviewed on 5 May 2017 | Image: Contributed

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The Reviews Hub - South West
The Southwest team is under the editorship of Holly Spanner. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.