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LOL (lots of love) (tour – Ipswich)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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Anyone who still thinks that electronic means of communications and online social networking have reduced personal problems needs to be shoe-horned into an iPhone and ported across to the nearest venue where Protein’s latest dance theatre piece is on stage. LOL (lots of love) tangles six performers with a shaggy bird’s nest of cables against a background of quick-fire video (Rachel Davies) to tell a cautionary tale of not-so-virtual realities.

It’s dance certainly, but it also has spoken dialogue as three young men and three women search for that yearned-for but increasingly elusive soul-mate and lifetime partner. That's not to mention an intriguing score by Andy Pink. So we have a sort of visual onomatopoeia which at one point drifts into the audience’s space with a search for a working mobile phone with camera. Of course, being properly behaved theatre-goers, we have all turned off all such devices before entering the auditorium… Patsy Browne-Hope, Sally Marie and Fernanda Prata are the three girls looking for love. Marie is the naïve one, who learns eventually that people do tell lies in their profile for online dating agencies. Prata is much more concerned to stamp her own personality on those she meets in real or cyber space. Browne-Hope is feisty, but in a slightly vulnerable fashion as she lovers between looking on and involvement.

Desperately searching for Mr Right while still in denial of his own sexuality, Kip Johnson encounters first Omar Gordon and then Stuart Waters}. There is some fine double work between the various male couplings, with or without female intervention, with strong lifts which push physical boundaries but never descend into the grotesque. Throughout, the performers allow movement to say what words (and even pictures) never can. The conception is by Protein’s artistic director [Luca Silvestrini.


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