Norwich Playhouse

Norwich Playhouse

This danced out exploration of skin for Black History Month opened with a memory of near death.

Images of water flashed up on screens surrounding the stage as a single performer told her tale of nearly drowning. The soundtrack was a babble of distorted voices from underwater.

This gave way to a suite of dances fired by the "thousand natual shocks/ That flesh is heir to”. Powerful pumping rhythms electrified the stage, as images of cells strobed across the backdrop.

The stated aim was to submit the skin to a series of stimuli and see how it reacted, laboratory style. Would it camouflage like a chameleon? How would it react when another came near? Pain, conflict and isolation pulsed the platform.

This was an urban landscape where perimeters were set and territory staked out. A sense of mortality never left us. It was reminiscent of a primal scream.

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Part two brought us a common language growing from the fusion of African, Caribbean and Japanese dance styles. The spiritual nature the traditions shared led to a number of unison dances like hymns. Mesmeric, but I longed for a sense of love.

A performance of knife-edge precision and control. Impressive as a marble statue. Cold as the cheek cell under the microscope.

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