Venue: The Lowry
Where: Salford
Date Reviewed: 5 June 2009

Lost Dog, a contemporary company formed in 2004, bring a rawness and innovative quality to the experimental vicinity of the proscenium, with their latest piece of dance theatre, The Rain Parade. Paradoxically confusing and compelling, there are undoubtedly flaws to the performance. Yet, somehow, from within the theatrical space there emerges a magic communication that leaves you craving more.

Using an eclectic and often perplexing mix of dance, dialogue and digital technologies, the piece explores the inevitability of man and his fall. Influenced by the religious account of Adam and Eve, three remaining survivors expressively use their bodies to represent the cyclic nature of the world, where the human id will forever be led into temptation. Together, they reveal the intricacies of the mind, many responses to unanswered questions on societal history being lost in a distant memory.

The performance begins slowly, yet when five eyes appear on randomly spaced television screens and a woman begins laughing hysterically, you suddenly feel encapsulated in a Doctor Who like tardis and a Big Brother world, where banal states do not exist. The juxtaposition of electronic sounds, with a folk driven music score (skilfully delivered and created by Jamie McCarthy), is enough to keep you intrigued.

Yet for Lost Dog, aural beauty must be combined with visual radiance, Ben Duke and Raquel Meseguer executing similarly polished and unforgettable performances. Admittedly, the choreography of their solo performances is not first class and it is too long a wait before the two finally engage in contact work.

When unison does occur, nonetheless, such negatives are compensated for, the complicity of Duke and Meseguer being so strong that you can’t possibly tear your eyes away from their playful gestures. It is of no surprise that the pair have been dancing together for six years, their bodies, on many an occasion, having the effect of merging into one and making any movement, however complex, appear effortless. Replacing repetitive and sometimes frustrating elements of individual routines with the captivating collision of two bodies is what ultimately would strengthen the piece.

If you are interested in the company’s ideas or simply have confusions about the work that you wish to settle, the small cast offer the helpful opportunity of post-show discussions. Simultaneously creative, unique and mystifying, Rain Parade proposes an exciting new dimension to the ever expanding conventions of dance theatre.

-Rebecca Cohen