Reviewer: Peter Jacobs
Knot is the story of two lovers and ‘the invisible string that connects’ them. Presented on Valentine’s night in The Lowry’s Aldridge Studio, it’s just possibly not the story of two lovers you might expect.
Performed by Nikki and JD – hand-to-hand acrobalance artists Nikki Rummer and Jean-Daniel Broussé – Knot is a hybrid of acrobatic cirque, contemporary dance and text, which creates a show of great complexity and breathtakingly-effortless acrobatic skill without a single ‘tadah!’ moment: which is all to the good.
The pair – who bring support from the National Centre for Circus Arts and the Jerwood Choreographic Research Project II – have cleverly chosen to work with Ben Duke of Lost Dog Dance. Duke’s work is often characterised by an exploration of theatrical artifice to explore and find the fundamental honesty and authenticity within performance and Knot is saturated with this spirit.
Knot puts the relationship between Nikki and JD under a gentle but searching spotlight, threading together the acrobalance skills of the pair and weaving that movement into a fine tapestry of contemporary choreography and text, which playfully illuminates and resets the narrative. The circus skills on display are jaw-droppingly impressive but presented in a way that strips away much of the bare muscularity of the physical acts and places them within an intriguing exploration of intimacy and tenderness, with moments of aggression and violence. Their timing and physical connection is flawless.
Nikki and JD are as comfortable delivering the spoken elements of the performance as they are with the cleverly constructed lifts and balances and the detailed physical conversation between their two bodies, which makes for a show that is as unexpectedly delightful and heartwarming as it is impressive as spectacle.
Knot is a revealing show about the nature of love, friendship, family and the demanding life of performers that is honest, friendly, generous and physically audacious.
A clever mix of original electronic music by Tim Lenkiewicz – with the occasional slice of Dean Martin at his most playfully romantic – adds dynamism and spice to a knot that is a pleasure to untangle.
Reviewed on 14 February 2018 | Image: Contributed