Richard Alston Dance Company review: Martin Lawrence’s A Far Cry is easily the most densely choreographed, energetic and engaging number

PUBLISHED: 11:00 09 February 2020 | UPDATED: 11:00 09 February 2020

Richard Alston Dance Company. Picture: Chris Nash

Richard Alston Dance Company. Picture: Chris Nash

Chris Nash

This is a show of unusually mixed emotions: Richard Alston has just been knighted and his eponymous company has reached its 25th year.

But this is also its final tour, with a shift in Arts Council funding towards younger artists meaning the septuagenarian is shutting up shop.

His swansong is Voices and Light Footsteps, repurposing a name from an old dance to reignite some 16th century Italian madrigals. It is the final of the five pieces making up the programme and the most successful.

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Alston plays frequently with synchronicity, the seemingly paired dancers slipping off into their own movements or members of 'rival' groups seamlessly switching allegiances for a few beats, before resetting their places.

It is matched by Martin Lawrence's A Far Cry, his final piece for the company, that is easily the most densely choreographed, energetic, and engaging number of the evening.

The rest of the programme is less convincing. Mazur is quaintly enjoyable, a mix of solos and duets by dancers Joshua Harriette and Niholas Shikkis that with the on-stage pianist feels something like a friendly dance studio duel.

Shine On, incorporating music by Britten and words by Auden - sung live by Katherine McIndoe - is disappointingly superficial, but that is a relief when set against opening piece Red Run.

Here the discordant soundtrack and the sporadic movement on stage too often feel disconnected, the dance featuring neither sharp lines nor deliberate fluidity, but a sort of disinterested combination of the two.

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