Company Chameleon (Salford)
3 August 2009 WOS Rating: Venue: The Lowry Anthony Missen and Kevin Turner, who comprise Company Chameleon, have worked together for over a decade and developed a level of trust that allows synchronisation of movement that looks deceptively easy. In collaboration with choreographer Beth Cassani they have developed a pair of duets set to tonal music produced live on-stage.This ranges from sparse keyboards to amplified breathing or distorted jungle sounds all of which enhance the performances. Before Night Fell takes an absurdist approach to the cruel afflictions of age or disability. A topical aspect arises from the scarlet tunics that suggest that the dancers may have sustained injury in military service. Left without support from society the dancers care for each other; their concern reflected in their facial reactions. Each dancer crosses the stage balancing on rough-cut logs and needs the support of a partner as one is without the use of eyes and the other legs. During this manoeuvring the twisted poses of the dancers illustrates their desperation. The concept limits the permissible movements so that the occasional leap or high roll becomes all the more dramatic. As the characters slide into restless sleep, they return to childhood and the dancers are allowed to move more freely and show that, in dreams at least, there is a chance of freedom. A bleak and powerful duet although a little too long; continuing well after it’s point is made. Rites examines the corrosive effect of peer pressure upon male development with perception and in an imaginative manner. A shame, however, that it’s conclusion slides towards the type of stereotype which the duet challenges. The cyclical nature of abuse is perfectly reflected as a child replicates the gestures of, and then switches roles with, his parent. During their fearful journey through adolescence and into adulthood the clothing of the dancers and the background music suggest they are entering combat. Each dancer has to force the other onwards and even uses his partner as a barrier or weapon. The insecurity that underlies the swaggering alpha-male personality is well realised. The sympathetic way in which the duet analyses how an aggressive personality can develop is undermined by the burst of ultra-violence that ends the piece and illustrates, rather than challenges, the situation. It has a distancing effect on the audience and leaves you wanting to object that not all men are inclined towards violence. Company Chameleon blend dance with theatre to examine some disturbing aspects of society in an imaginative way. -Dave Cunningham Related Content Back to Northwest Homepage
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