Creators: Joli Vyann and Jonathan Lunn
Choreographer: Jonathan Lunn
Reviewer: Christy Ku
Imbalance fuses dance, acrobatics and circus into a show that seeks to explore society’s obsession with technology. The argument that electronics are driving people away from each other and how society would be better without them (despite the huge benefits they bring to the world) is overdone. However, this show brings a refreshing take to the discussion in a powerfully beautiful way.
Choreographed by Olivier Award nominee Jonathan Lunn, the physicality of dance becomes the perfect medium for this topic. The performers, Jan Patzke and Olivia Quayle, are physically together but remain distant. They repeat routines again and again, faster and faster, as their lives are trapped revolving around notifications and alerts. Unwilling to connect they instead are consumed by the bright lights of their screens, together but alone. When they put away the screens and fully interact with each other through dance, they truly see each other and it is beautiful.
Patzke and Quayle are exceptional performers. They are both physically powerful, nimble and fluid with incredible stamina and energy. Imbalance is full of terrifyingly spectacular acrobatics; throwing and catching, balancing on and spinning the other playfully and almost effortlessly – at one point Quayle casually sits, unsupported, on Patzke’s head as he walks about. They have a wonderful synergy, forged by the deep trust and security they have in each other which draws the audience into their connection and message.
The sound design (Dougie Evans) is wonderful, mixing familiar electronic sounds such as ringtones, video chats and self-checkout machines and then defamiliarising them. The lighting (Aideen Malone) is cleverly used, with laptops creating lonely islands of light at the table or huge silhouettes with just a phone torch. It is an effective way of representing the very dark side of social media, deepening the threat of cyber-bullying. However, it is a shame the show does not delve deeper into this topic.
Imbalance is a beautiful show about how we use technology and let it control our lives and the lives of others. It demonstrates the importance of uninterrupted and real physical connection in order to regain and appreciate the relationships that are right beside you.
Reviewed on 1 March 2016 | Image: James Williams