St Stephen's, Edinburgh
August, 2002

*** Very much a dance of two halves

Lia Rodrigues Companhia De Danças give us 50 minutes of slow-moving physical beauty followed by 25 of shrill agitprop.

I find it impossible to consider this as a single piece; at best, it's a diptych, to which I would award the first phase five stars and the second a mere two. It begins with a series of scenes in which the performers are completely naked and unaccompanied by any music. They adopt odd initial poses, then move almost too slow for the eye through a series of contortions and attitudes in which one simply gazes at the configuration of the bodies, the play of light and perspective upon them (the show is more or less a promenade piece) and the physical capabilities of the human frame. At times performers seem utterly to fuse together. It's a glorious experience.

After a sequence in which the performers twitch and writhe spastically through the audience, they dress, sit us around the edges of a square, and engage in sequences of military drilling to martial drum beats whilst shouting out various cultural buzz-phrases from "Calvin Klein" and "Hamas" to "Marmite" and "Tim Henman". They read out declarations of human rights, and exhort us to act to realise these. I can see the thematic link, but it's a dreadfully hectoring way to end what had started so beautifully.

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Copyright © Ian Shuttleworth; all rights reserved.

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