Resolution! 2013 – Hinged, Camila Gutierrez & Fionn Cox-Davies, Cesilie Kvernland, The Nonsuch Dancers: The Place, London, 14 February 2013

Well, it’s worth a try

The Queen's bit of ruff. The Nonsuch Dancers in Rexesexus. Photo by Linda Carter.

The Queen’s bit of ruff. The Nonsuch Dancers in Rexesexus. Photo by Linda Carter.

The penultimate night of Resolution! 2013, The Place’s six-week long festival of new work, was a pretty good one. First up were Hinged who might be better changing their name to Unhinged. A re-telling of the RainMan movie and book, this was one million miles an hour stuff. There was an enormous amount to admire; Harry Amies’ visuals were superb and the dancing was excellent, especially the guy playing Raymond Babbitt (the programme notes don’t reveal who played what role) who captured his character’s nervous, jittery movements with sympathy and emotive poignancy.

Taira Foo’s choreography was often imaginative and brilliant to watch and the storytelling worked well – I’ve never seen the movie or read the book but easily got the gist of the story. However, Foo’s pacing was maddeningly frenetic almost from beginning to end, paying attention neither to pathos of the story she was telling or worse, to the music being played – The Rolling Stones were given the same treatment as the much slower string quartet. Nevertheless this was quite a show.

Due to a last-minute cancellation two short pieces were included in the bill. The first one, Camila Gutierrez and Fionn Cox-Davies’ Accomplices, was terrific. The choreographers themselves performed the head-rolling, back-lifting, body-wrapping five minute long duet with consummate style. And quite how the diminutive Gutierrez was able to support and lift her much larger partner was a wonder to behold.

Cesilie Kvernland’s (parentheses) was an impenetrable ensemble of six girls paying homage to nature and light. Or something like that. Beautifully lit by Karl Oskar Sørdal and Mickie Mannion to a soundtrack of falling water, it was strangely fascinating to watch as the cast went slowly from press-ups to standing together in a huddle. I’d happily watch it again.

Last up was a real oddity. The Nonsuch Dancers struck a blow for people over 25 creating new dance work for Resolution! by performing 400 year-old dances in Rexesexus: Tudor Dirty Dancing. With absolutely fabulous courtly costumes and a wicked line of humour they revealed how the world’s favourite vertical expression of the horizontal has always caused censure and shock, even if the parameters of what’s considered decent change over the centuries. Introducing sexually charged contemporary dance towards the end cleverly highlighted the freedom of sensuality and expression taken for granted in the theatre today.

‘Twas a fine night.

Gerard Davis

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