Thursday, 31 August 2017

Nederlands Dans Theater – EIF, Playhouse, Edinburgh

[seen 21/08/17]

I don’t know who’s in charge of the theatre programming at EIF, but whoever it is urgently needs replacing. Ok, that’s not quite fair. Real Magic *is* brilliant, it’s just a pity I’d already seen it. The thought of Zinnie Harris’s 4hrs30 Oresteia wasn’t enough to keep me in Edinburgh to see it (indeed, may have prompted me to leave early), and the reviews of the six hour Ayckbourn were enough to make me return my press ticket.

Thank God, then, for John Eliot Gardner’s Monteverdi concerts and Nederlands Dans Theater.

The NDS triple bill (which I characterised at the first interval as “a mixed programme of applause, queuing, intervals and a bit of dance” (total dance-time: 84 minutes, total running time: getting on for three hours)), was, overall, pretty good.

I was maybe a bit crabby in the first interval, as the first piece, Shoot The Moon, was merely “fine,” with many points lost for their use of Philip Glass’s Tirol Symphony, movement 2 (made available here on YouTube as “motivational music” to “start your own business,” one idly notes).

The basic dance set-up involved a three-walled revolve, creating three different rooms, with windows and/or doors, with an additional live-stream screen above it. Seven dancers seemed to tell a fairly hum-drum story of suffocated marriages, yearning and infidelity(?), which, when scored by Glass’s identikit music, made it look like the movement bits in a(n imagined) Katie Mitchell adaptation of The Hours (perhaps performed on the set of Heiner Goebbels’s I Went To The House But Did Not Enter). But, yeah, things I concluded during Shoot The Moon: a) I prefer contemporary dance where they don’t dance *to* the music (if there has to be “music” at all), and b) I’m pretty over my adolescent thing for Philip Glass now. Especially his soupy, trying-to-be-emotional stuff.

Annoyingly, the third piece – Stop-Motion – is also choreographed by Sol León and Paul Lightfoot, this time to the strains of some soupy Max Richter. And is an open-stage version of much the same register, albeit with a different plot/arc – this one somehow more like a deconstructed group Swan Lake in many repeated vignette-like iterations of character. And with some tediously tasteful black and white projections of a woman wearing a black black dress on a hanging screen on the right hand side of the stage. For a while. Until it lifts up and disappears.

The stand out here is Gabriela Carrizo’s The Missing Door – for all the world like a compressed model of David Lynch’s Inland Empire. On a loop...

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