DanceReviewSouth East

Imbalance – New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich

Creators: Joli Vyann & Jonathan Lunn
Choreographer: Jonathan Lunn
Reviewer: Glen Pearce

As debate continues about the etiquette of, and some audience’s seemingly inability to, switching off social media while watching theatre, it’s perhaps timely that the Joli Yvann company explore our obsession of our online virtual addiction.

As the auditorium lights fade a couple are sat at a table, each absorbed in their own world online. The only illumination the pale glow from their laptop or mobile phone. It’s a scene repeated throughout the piece, in ever increasing frenetic interaction, thumbs becoming a blur as they type, tweet and Skype.

The two performers, Jan Patzke and Maélie Palomo (taking over from original creator and performer Olivia Quayle) combine mime, dance, circus and acrobatics in a blur of increasingly confused emotion.

While there’s a real connection physically between the pair, there’s no emotional heart to it. Perhaps that is the intention of the creators, to highlight the emotional isolation an online world engenders, but as a viewer, it is hard to connect with the characters on stage.

There’s also a tentative nature to the physical aspect. Balance may be stressed in the title and circus and gymnastic led balances feature heavily in the choreography. The problem is they are not executed with confidence, and while clearly accomplished performers, this is material we’ve seen performed before by companies such as Barely Methodical and Circa with much more attack and conviction.

That sense of disconnect may all be intentional, a mirror to the banality of online lives, but as a performance, it struggles to hold attention. Spread thinly across an hour there’s a strong sense that it is overlong. But perhaps the biggest indictment comes from the sight of fellow audience members checking their phones during the performance. We may be hooked on our media devices but never become hooked totally on the performance in front of us.

Reviewed on 1 May 2017 |Image: James Williams

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