Review: Poignancy and humour in new dance work

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FIRST LOVE, lost love, relationships starting and ending.

“Right Behind You” was inspired by the Greek Myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, and created from interviews, conducted by the performers, and delivered through physical theatre, dance and spoken word.

Lingua Franca, photo by Chris Webb
Lingua Franca, photo by Chris Webb
After the death of Eurydice, Orpheus follows her to Hades to bring her back to the surface of Earth. They will only be reunited if he believes that she is walking behind him, and does not look back to see her until they are both in the light. But something drives him to glance behind and although Eurydice has been behind him the whole time, once he turns around she disappears – condemned to return to Hades, without Orpheus, forever.

This story is told throughout the performance, as if we are being regaled by one of the interviewees.

It takes on poignancy when told alongside real life stories on the ironies and perversities in relationships, the near misses, second chances, what ifs, bad timing, trust, and communication barriers.

Although the interviews were conducted from various age groups, it appeared to be primarily a young take on love. It was refreshing to hear the vulnerability and insecurities of men revealed and gave an insight on “how the other half lives”.

Dancer Alison Plevey and Adam Deusien, a talented actor and performer, gave an endearing performance and came across as likeable characters, although playing many. At times mirroring each other’s movement, and at others, resisting, they gave an emotionally charged performance with the potential to be pushed even further.

It appeared challenging to maintain movement and speech without becoming breathless so it was suitable that after a while Plevey and Deusien tended to focus on one or the other at a time.Some of the partnering work was laboured and the lifts were clunky. However, given that the performance was a depiction of love and relationships that may well have been fitting.

Two desks were used effectively as props but the meaning of the red paper pieces strewn all over the stage was not entirely obvious – perhaps rose petals, a broken heart, or love letters, ripped and discarded.

There was humour in both movement and sentiment, giving way to poignant, rueful sadness as depictions and descriptions of cheating, fighting, justifications and the awareness of when a relationship was over, were explored.

Attempting to answer why we do the compulsive things we do to jeopardise love and how we do it, one interviewee spoke of tormenting his new love by reading old love letters aloud, while another suggested “If you can imagine life – the next day, the next week, without someone and not be wondering what they are doing each day, then it’s easy (to leave)”.

Many of the stories told brought up emotions and situations that will resonate with audience members as they laugh at their own memories, or remember loss and pain, inflicted or felt, in relationships.

“Right Behind You” is a charming and touching piece of work and scratches the surface of what could be an even more powerful and impactful work should it be explored further.

 

 

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