D’après une histoire vraie – Christian Rizzo: Sadler’s Wells, London, 16 November 2015

The drum is everything

Trying to drum up some enthusiasm for Christian Rizzo's D'apres une histoire vraie. Photo by Laurent Philipe

Trying to drum up some enthusiasm for Christian Rizzo’s D’apres une histoire vraie. Photo by Laurent Philipe

If this piece was indeed ‘based on a true story’ as the title insists, it wasn’t a terribly interesting one. On a dim stage, eight rigorously-haired men in gloomy denim ran dazedly around in formations based on choreographer Christian Rizzo’s memories from a festival in Istanbul in 2004.

The linked arms and sufi swirl of the movement is of Turkish descent but the end result was that of fried hippy-dudes struggling to maintain a grip on reality at Woodstock. The choreographic patterns were clearly complex but the pace was so lackadaisical and the dancers so immersed in their own doings that it looked amateurish. Think Fatboy Slim’s Praise You video. Without the laughs.

There were some interesting moments. The section where a group unwound around each other while holding each other’s hands was cleverly structured and entertaining to watch and the final ten minutes or so was quite hypnotic in the way the performers joined in one by one to create a large ensemble of bouncing, skipping happiness. There was also an appealing sense of comradeship that permeated the entire work but there was altogether too much bumbling around to convince the brain it was worth paying much attention.

The best things on show were the two drummers, Didier Ambact and King Q4, who also wrote the music. Blessed with Millennium Falcon size drum kits they brought an energy, dynamism and virtuosity to the show that the choreography and performers just couldn’t match.

D’après une histoire vraie is at Sadler’s Wells until 17 November 2015. Tickets can be found on the Sadler’s Wells website.

Gerard Davis

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