Pros: Beautiful and mesmerizing performances bring a unique physicality to universal themes about human relationships.
Cons: The key themes get somewhat lost along the way, leaving sparks of insightfulness to sit amongst a rather confusing narrative.
All the Things You Said You Never Said Before You Thought You Could Ever Say explores the fine line between communication and miscommunication, and the consequences thereof, for a couple’s relationship through a beautifully crafted combination of physical theatre, contemporary dance and performance.
One single couple is depicted by two versions of the same relationship. There are a man and a woman who suppress their feelings, both good and bad. The other version of the same couple are a man and a woman who embrace and give a voice to all of a shared life’s challenges and delights. With All the Things You Said, Swiss-based Compagnie TDU explore a universal topic; we all know the desire to express and share our feelings with the people we love. Sometimes we are unable to do this, and our feelings keep broiling away under the surface. Other times, we give voice to our frustrations or worries and they are misunderstood, leading to unpredictable and often unnecessary friction in a relationship.
All the Things You Said moves around this topic, pokes it, sometimes comes up with a startlingly illuminating moment and then seems to lose it again. For me, the performance could have explored this fascinating theme of communication in human relationships in more depth. At times it was just a bit too abstract to make clear sense, and so many different mediums were used that the main topic was somewhat lost and confused. In some ways, the ludicrously long title seems emblematic of the show: we read it twice. We feel as though we understand what it is trying to tell us, read it again and end up completely confused and shortening it down to five simple words.
That said, the performance could have stood on its own, without a theme to explore at its base. Gema Galiana, Guillaumarc Froidevaux, Zuyana Kakalikova and Anthony Nikolchev give mesmerizing and beautiful performances, demonstrating both their dancing and acting skills. The sound design did well in enhancing their feelings, frustrations and joys. I also loved the simple and elegant set, with the actors making great use of the four chairs and single long box that were the only props in the space.
At times powerful and at times bewildering, All the Things You Said reminds us to share our innermost feelings with the people we love, as it will otherwise be too late. There’s no point wondering what we should have said, we need to go ahead and say it. Silence and suppression is never the answer.
Writer: Anthony Nikolchev
Directed, Devised and Produced By: Compagnie TDU
Box Office: 020 7582 7680
Booking Link: http://www.ovalhouse.com/whatson/detail/all-the-things-you-said-by-compagnie-tdu
Booking Until: 28 March 2015