If We Go On

Vincent Dance Theatre
Crucible Theatre, Sheffield, and touring
(2009)

Production photo

Vincent Dance Theatre claim to put on a show which offers an alternative aesthetic to the work that is currrently celebrated as 'dance theatre' in the UK. This is an ambitious claim, and they largely succeed.

Seven actor/dancer/musicians hold the stage for 1½ hours, one of the warm-up" shows for the Crucible theatre after its redevelopment; and it was good to be back. Whether the problems lie with new equipment or misuse of good equipment is not clear but certainly the microphones were not at their best, so that noisy amplification made hearing difficult, and also harshened the cello playing of Alex Catona. In the background, two separate television programmes were running on small screens, and seemed to bear no relation to all that was going on, not that they could be clearly seen, and there was no associated sound.

There were long, sometimes amusing commentaries, presumably by Scott Smith, with American accent and transatlantic conventions, the gist being a series of clichés on how to pass the time between one period of rest and another required by the participants.

In fact, the high speed movement and dancing sometimes made it difficult to grasp the substance of the action, while certainly the chalking on the back-cloth made little impression, except latterly a series of large figures was roughly chalked in over what had gone before. In summary, the dance was excellent; the music was good; the commentaries were occasionally humorous but otherwise difficult to appreciate; but they did clean up all the mess that had been scattered around before the finale.

Different it undoubtedly is; iconoclastic, certainly; meaningful, only if you coud comprehend the unfamiliar language of the participants. And the cohesion of the seven participants was such tthat it was only Catona the cellist who could be clearly identified

Reviewer: Philip Seager