"Dance, theatre, art quadruple bill"
by Victoria Claringbold for remotegoat on 26/06/11

The print room is showcasing young talent at its trendy Notting Hill venue this Summer. With four pieces performed in the same space it is an eclectic and ambitious undertaking. The night I went all four pieces were shown but on weeknights they alternate with two different shows performed (please check with the venue).

'Kanaval' is a dance piece choreographed by Hubert Essakow based in part on his impressions of the photographs of Leah Gordon (shown in a little gallery upstairs). Essakow uses two male and two female dancers to express a bizarre tribal dance. With mask and chair work and a projection changing behind the dancers there is a feeling of hide and seek. The dance itself varies in tempo with some parts fluid and gentle, others were more furious and contortionist in style. The music was monotonous at times but eventually led into chanting which was more palatable. The dancers use the in-the-round space darting here and there in acrobatic, arched movements giving a sense of the wildness of nature.

Chekhov's 'Swan Song' is a two-hander starring Malcolm Rennie as Svetlovidov, an aging actor realising his career is over. He relives his glory days by renacting bits from King Lear and Othello for his weary theatre prompter Nikita (Anne Lacey). Rennie delights in his drunk, self-pitying character with a mannered performance; darting from fearful and paranoid to sad and lonely.

Martin Crimp's 'Fewer Emergencies' is a fast talking anti-naturalistic play. The actors tell stories of the harsh realities of loveless marriage, a massacre of children and finally a child from the marriage in the first story who is kept in a tower. Set around a dinning room table drinking wine and eating grapes, the shocking stories are undercut by the middle class pretentions of the (never named) characters who are concerned with property prices and good schools in the area. With the repetitions of lines by different characters there is a rhythm that strengthens the play, it made it appear that some characters were just aspects of another's subconscious. This was particularly true when Nicola Harrison was speaking; her performance was riveting and grounded the piece. An eerie blues song was performed with skill by Ross Ericson under red gels. The surrealist nature of the play was particularly refreshing.

Last was sound installation 'Of The Things We Do Not See' by Petra Jean Philipson. The space was converted into a white tent with white cushions inside. The audience had to put white paper boiler suits and booties over their clothes so as not to cause 'colour pollution'. We were Velcro-ed in and the music started. Most people lay down and looked up at the changing light display above, the sounds included a didjeridoo-like instrument, pipes, a triangle and what I found out was Mongolian singing or aahing. Sound healing is said to boost your immune system and help relieve insomnia, which was clear for the woman next to me who began to snore. It was curious end to an unusual evening.

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