CirqueContemporaryDanceDramaNorth East & YorkshirePhysical TheatreReview

Charge – Lawrence Batley Theatre, Huddersfield

Music: Sophy Smith and Tim Dickinson

Director: Kevin Finnan

Choreography: Kevin Finnan, with additional material from the company

Reviewer: Rich Jevons

Charge is the final part of Motionhouse’s Earth Trilogy, developing on themes explored in Scattered (2009) and Broken (2013), celebrating the company’s 30th anniversary. Director Kevin Finnan worked closely with Professor Frances Ashcroft of Oxford University, author of The Spark of Life about electricity in the human body. So in this way, art and science are combined to great effect.

As always, Motionhouse uses amazing multimedia, but also, importantly, rely on the way the digital projections interact with the dancers. So when a toaster appears on-screen, we see a slice of tangible toast being picked up, and when a stream of dancers go through a slit in the backdrop they reappear as if having been thrown down some kind of funnel. 

The show starts off slowly with Beth Pattison hanging from a rope above Daniel Massarella squirming on the floor. But then, when the pace quickens, there are some astounding lifts and drops. For example, when Beth Pattison is astride a dancer, a feat in itself, she is then only to be carefully passed onto the shoulders of another, totally defying gravity. 

The frenetic energy of the dancers’ athleticism is matched by incredible projections which at times take in a busy cityscape, at others the beating of a human heart. Charge benefits also from Simon Dorman’s brilliant set which is both visually pleasing and also very functional too. It allows for the many aerial tricks that really make the piece so astounding. And Sophy Smith and Tim Dickinson’s scintillating score both drives and punctuates the action.

There were many young adults in the Lawrence Batley Theatre crowd, who were quite stunned by this immersive and immaculate production. And for good reason: Charge is a fascinating blend of contemporary dance, ballet, and circus which has to be acknowledged as a pièce de résistance for both dancers and creatives.

Reviewed on 23rd November | Image: Contributed

Review Overview

The Reviews Hub Score

Electrifying & frenetic

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.

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