Review: Hofesh Shechter’s Grand Finale at Norwich Theatre Royal

NNF18 - Hofesh Shechter Company's Grand FinalePhoto: Rahi Rezvani

NNF18 - Hofesh Shechter Company's Grand FinalePhoto: Rahi Rezvani - Credit: Rahi Rezvani

From the very start of Hofesh Shechter's return to the Norfolk and Norwich Festival, with a blatant nod to the monolith and apes of 2001 Space Odyssey, we a bombarded with a dense series of cultural references.

NNF18 - Hofesh Shechter Company's Grand FinalePhoto: Rahi Rezvani

NNF18 - Hofesh Shechter Company's Grand FinalePhoto: Rahi Rezvani - Credit: Rahi Rezvani

We are thrown hints of Titanic with a life-jacket wearing musical sextet, prolonged hakas, zombies and marionettes. We get a taste of Lord of the Flies, and an impromptu rave. We get Cossacks, even a dab or two.

There is so much here, and yet also so little. The eleven dancers pulse and shake, ritually slaughter, and lifelessly drag each other around the stage – you hope the smears left behind are from the unexplained downfall of bubbles that accompany one vignette rather than sweat, but the latter seems more likely. If the first half wasn't so studiously monochromatic it could even be blood.

The choreography is dense and flawless, and the sparse set – a series of giant masquerading pillars that circle around like a possessed Stonehenge, creating barriers and shelters – literally looms over the action with every inch a deliberate menace.

But, ironically, like late Kubrick despite all the obvious talent in front of your eyes there is little to connect the dots in your brain, instead a kind of frenetic nihilism pervades that gives us multitudes of movement but such little progress. Even the costume change in the second part only degrades us further: half the company are in tracksuits.

NNF18 - Hofesh Shechter Company's Grand FinalePhoto: Rahi Rezvani

NNF18 - Hofesh Shechter Company's Grand FinalePhoto: Rahi Rezvani - Credit: Rahi Rezvani


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With so many bodies on stage, there is precious little connection between them. One couple joins together for a split second in the first half; we get a smidgen of slow dancing in the second. Just one kiss. So much humanity, and yet so little joy.

Perhaps somewhere, in there, is the point.

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James Goffin

• Grand Finale was part of this year's Norfolk and Norwich Festival. For your daily guide to festival events click here• For all the latest festival news and reviews click here

NNF18 - Hofesh Shechter Company's Grand FinalePhoto: Rahi Rezvani

NNF18 - Hofesh Shechter Company's Grand FinalePhoto: Rahi Rezvani - Credit: Rahi Rezvani

NNF18 - Hofesh Shechter Company's Grand FinalePhoto: Rahi Rezvani

NNF18 - Hofesh Shechter Company's Grand FinalePhoto: Rahi Rezvani - Credit: Rahi Rezvani

NNF18 - Hofesh Shechter Company's Grand FinalePhoto: Rahi Rezvani

NNF18 - Hofesh Shechter Company's Grand FinalePhoto: Rahi Rezvani - Credit: Rahi Rezvani

NNF18 - Hofesh Shechter Company's Grand FinalePhoto: Rahi Rezvani

NNF18 - Hofesh Shechter Company's Grand FinalePhoto: Rahi Rezvani - Credit: Rahi Rezvani

NNF18 - Hofesh Shechter Company's Grand FinalePhoto: Rahi Rezvani

NNF18 - Hofesh Shechter Company's Grand FinalePhoto: Rahi Rezvani - Credit: Rahi Rezvani

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