Director: Kevin Finnan
Reviewer: Rich Jevons
While it is customary to applaud the achievements of a dance piece’s choreographer, in the case of Motionhouse, as well as flagging up the supreme talents of their Artistic Director Kevin Finnan’ I’d like to include a rôle-call of the ensemble, namely: Martina Bussi, Daniel Connor, Junior Cunningham, Alasdair Stewart, Anna Watkins and Rebecca Williams.
Together they perform some of the most astounding athletic feats ever witnessed onstage with such superb timing and expertise. Their incredible movements range from spins and contortions to dives and moments of suspended forms that is simply electrifying and exhilarating, to the point of the piece being wonderfully cathartic. Often their frantic and frenetic thrusts and writhing could be seen as sexual but far from erotica, more mapping our evolution through male-female conjunction.
Much of the dance is aerial in nature with immaculate use of poles to heighten their position against the screen on which the psychedelic hyper-real animations land upon. The projections also feature on the dancers themselves and various objects such as depicting a small fire which the dancers gather round, themselves flickering just like the flames, and a bed with lovers entwined.
It really is a fully immersive experience of both sound and vision – and unbelievably exceeds the hopes you might have for what Finnan foretold as ‘the nearest thing to a 3D film’– it actually leaps right out at you. The introduction of a female dancer in a plastic bubble sets off the poetic and metaphysical narrative. She could be mother earth but more hints at the moment before the Creation, a pinprick of light in the Nothingness/Chaos.
Frequently the female dancers burst off-stage through the slits in the screen and are then seen as a diminishing light, achieved by tip-toeing movement, measured perfectly. And when the male dancers adorn headlamps this further adds to the feeling of an underworld or Hades and their light as an exploration of this.
There are so many seismic movements on-screen mirrored in the dancers’ acts as well as geysers and larval eruptions all of which build up a cohesive world of the planet’s evolution and man’s (miniscule) part in this macrocosm. The extreme physicality of the performance is thus all in context and part of the content, making the form holistic and more than the sum of its parts.
The rapid choreographic editing is presented seamlessly and the 72 minutes consist of a constant barrage of action, almost bewildering and clearly cosmic (a much over-used term). So this is a universal structure and tells of global happenings, most dramatically the modern-day apartments facing an earthquake. At this point we really fear for the dancers’ safety, as if the set itself were to burst open and collapse.
The illusion and trickery demands no suspension of disbelief with it’s constantly shifting elements and the quest for survival simply adds tension to the magnificent spectacle. truly organic, orgasmic and totally out of the ordinary. A must-see.
Touring the UK until 2nd June 2015
You can read The Public Reviews interview with Director Kevin Finnan here.