Go Live: Bette Revisited / Interconnection / Music-in-Motion / Threshold / Sâl ö däg / Marching Bands

Curated by Donald Hutera

Lion and Unicorn Theatre

On 15 June 2015

Review by Howard Loxton

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Part of Donald Hutera’s eclectic festival of dance and other physical performance (which ends at this venue on 18 June but continues in July in Oxford and Winchester), this programme of six pieces seems to have something for everyone.

The bill opened with Neil Fisher and Debbie Lee-Anthony dancing their duet Bette Revisited which presents a no-longer-young couple showing that they can be just as romantic and almost as agile as their young selves.

It begins with them at a table, the man head down, either passed out or dreaming, but smoothly sweeps into a series of variations full of sweeping turns and lifts and some playful mime on a table that express the enduring affection between them and capture that youthful spirit that stays inside us no matter how old our outside appearances.

Interconnection is a solo danced by Brian Gillespie, naked except for black shorts. The technos appear not to be ready and, standing half-lit, he starts to tap fingers and twitch a little with impatience. It is all intended and his movements gradually become more fluid and complicated as a sound track of intermittent pips and clicks is added that evolves into something more musical.

Lighting changes appear to cue changes of approach, as when he turns his back to the audience and we can see every muscle of his back seem to flex in exact tempo, or late he seem to conducting a confrontation with an object that changes size. It is performed with intense concentration in which a firmly held eye-line becomes part of the choreography.

In Music-in-Motion, co-deviser John Landor, violinist Milan Berginc plays music by Bach George Enescu and Miroslav Miletic. It uses the simplest means to great effect. A performance element helps to focus concentration in a way that is often lacking in conventional concerts. Beginning with a huge shadow of player and instrument to being lit by one single candle and then, as the performer moves within the performance space, the effect of different relationships with the lighting adds extra feeling and strengthens the impact of this solo performance. 

The second half of the evening brought Debby Lee-Anthony back with a new solo she calls Threshold. Entering holding an hour glass, slow moving, circling and weaving patterns in the air before placing it on the ground, the dance gracefully continues with a wistful tension. It seems to be expressing an awareness of the limits on our lives and making the most of what we have left.

In Sâl ö däg, My Johansson, an attractive young woman whose looks made me think of her film star namesakes Mai Zetterling and Scarlett Johannson, rose from a seat among the audience holding a large bunch of miniature purple lupins. In silence, she walked slowly and calmly around the perimeter of the dance space, briefly sat in an empty front row seat and then laid clumps of flowers in a line on the floor.

A trance-like rocking forward on to one foot was suddenly interrupted by a panic dash to the rear to claw the wall with her hands. Now a little music begins before more silence.

An intense performance of anguished turns and tensions awoke no response in me until I began to see this as possible inspired by Ophelia’s madness. Lying curled foetus-like on the floor, using bent legs to spin the body round on its side her gyrations, it seems an image of desolation and at first strangely hypnotic but it goes on too long.

The programme ended with Marching Bands, an improvisation by Zoi Dimitriou to spoken text by Julyen Hamilton, is a piece that responds to words as well as to rhythms, full of fluid movement, continual invention and just a touch of self-mockery that lifts the spirits.

Spread over nine evenings, Go Live provides an opportunity to see a wide range of dance and performance by both established and emerging practitioners and get a taste of the wealth of talent and creativity among current performers.