Grand Theatre, Blackpool
There can be no doubt that Blackpool Grand is steadily growing its reputation for modern dance performances when it attracts both an internationally-renowned company and an appreciably increasing audience.
Some among the 400 or so theatregoers here had travelled from the other side of the Pennines, and given the current state of the weather they won’t just have been attracted by the gleaming title of this show: Sun.
Indeed several of them, from Sheffield, had already seen this Hofesh Shechter Company performance at Sadlers Wells in London and it’s easy to see why it should have such a mesmerising effect.
With no discernible narrative arc it’s a dizzying combination of dance, mime, art installation, physical theatre and even—perhaps unwittingly—a comedy homage to Monty Python. How else do you explain those cut-out sheep, or moutons aeronautiques of blessed memory?
Let’s just settle for summing it up as a theatrical experience, one from which you could not peel your eyes, or are unlikely to easily strip from your memory.
A cast of 15, a truly international assortment of dancers, perform a seemingly chaotic though highly-ordered sequence of movements to a largely cacophonous sound of street drumming, interspersed with snatches of "Abide With Me" or "Let’s Face The Music".
It all begins by showing us the ending first, with a reassuring voiceover telling us “It will all be alright.” Which does not prevent one company member, on the front row of the audience, screaming in terror every now and then...
Keeping up so far?
A little of it is performed in near-darkness, but the rest is exquisitely illuminated by Lee Curran’s lighting design.
Many of the audience’s younger members were the first on their feet to applaud this 65-minute visual and aural assault on the senses.
A heart-warming tribute both to Sun, and to this venue’s glowing and growing achievement.
Reviewer: David Upton