I’ve sat in many theatres, many times, looking for escapism and entertainment.
In 2Faced Dance’s new triple bill, RUN, I found them both, while being weirdly unsettled along the way.
90% enthralled, 10% confused by From Above, The Other and Fallen Angels - three bold pieces, each a different take on the darker side of humanity and the power of fear, I had a pervasive feeling that I, with little experience of contemporary dance, might not be "getting it".
Then again how much experience of impasto painting techniques do you need to appreciate Van Gogh’s Sunflowers? And I appreciated this gritty, explosive show.
The breathless choreography, clever stage lighting and visceral sound effects felt, at times, like a kick to the chest. If RUN wanted to get my attention, it succeeded.
Louis Parker-Evans in From Above. Photo: Matt Poreous.
From Above, created and choreographed by 2Faced founder Tamsin Fitzgerald, takes inspiration from our obsessive online lives and the idea that individual opinions inevitably lost in the hive mind of social media.
When Jason Boyle and Louis Parker-Evans’ moved as one, entwined, it was raw and reactive. The dancers – incredible, talented dancers - fight, twist, sweat and run rings to fill the space beneath giant ‘tablet’ screens suspended above them. Manually lowered like a back-lit coffin lid, it’s the screen that eventually drives the message home; even free minds can be trapped in a virtual world.
The Other, a two hander by Rebecca Evans (a newcomer supported through The BENCH programme), is "set against the current political situation of immigration and our destructive relationship with fear".
Less accessible than I’d hoped, Bachar Mar-Khalife’s music was my highlight; lifting, building and falling as the two characters – one representing a pedlar of fear, the other a fragile human spirit - use stage lights as handheld props.
The final piece of the night came from choreographer Lenka Vagnerová.
Advised by someone with far sharper critical facilities than me, I hadn’t been looking for narrative in any of the three pieces but in Fallen Angels I found the good vs evil storyline as clear as day, even before the whispering serpent made an appearance.
Loud, aggressive, disturbing, unnerving, it was fast, furious and expressive stuff – mixing dance with performance theatre and the best opening scene of the night.
A day later, I still don’t know if I “get” it or if “getting it” even matters when escapism and entertainment warrants being well and truly kicked out of your comfort zone. Either way, I’m booking tickets to see RUN again and already wait, in anticipation, for 2Faced’s next move.
RUN was at The Courtyard in Hereford on February 23, 2017.
It will be at Malvern Theatres on May 9. Tickets and further tour info at 2faceddance.co.uk.