Edits – The Featherstonehaughs: Hammersmith Riverside Studios, 26 November 2011

The final cut

Hey Missy, watch out for the hole in the floor. The Featherstonehaughs leave quietly.

The sound of the 12 year old boy behind me slowly, very slowly, tearing up his programme about halfway through this show just about summed it up. Having lost their Arts Council funding Edits was The Featherstonehaughs last ever performance and sadly they exited with a tedious, Pina Bausch-lite study on the essence of the feature film.

It actually started with quite a neat premise. Three large wooden frames were arranged across the stage, each one activated as soon as someone entered it or its reflection on the floor. This led to literal jumpcuts and some visually arresting poses and parades bathed in sumptuous lighting. It soon became clear however that although the dancers, in their strangely endearing vintage frocks and wigs, usually entered the frames with great gusto once actually in them they rarely did anything interesting; a few grimaces, a bit of finger-prodding and the occasional cartwheel was about it. The problem was that this went on for pretty much the entire 70 minutes of the show and there’s only so much you can take of men in drag playing hopscotch.

The hummy, hissy, electronically burbly soundtrack didn’t help, although the occasional interlude of two puritanical musicians lent some relief, and there were far too many periods where nothing was happening. You know things aren’t quite working when watching the dancers hurriedly changing in the wings was more engaging that was happening centre-stage.

Still, they got their ovation, presumably for the body of work accrued over 25 years, and Lea Anderson and her Cholmondeleys popped in for an encore to Nina Simone’s My Baby Just Cares For Me which was actually rather charming.

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