Pros: An excellent venue with committed performers giving it everything they’ve got.
Cons: Too many abstract ideas are confusing and downright hard work for the audience.
The Place is a venue that hadn’t previously appeared on my radar. Just off Euston Road I’ve never seen such a smartly equipped venue; graduated seating with ample leg room and a sumptuous performance area: I was immediately impressed by the venue, and hoped that the two performances would follow suit.
“Two to Tune is an episodic duet concentrating on tuned, reactive synchronicity between people. Two dancers share a moment of absolute concentration, connecting and harmonising with one another’s bodies, synchronising rhythms and impulses; alert, apprehending and responding. They are playfully locked together”. I’ve reproduced the programme synopsis here to illustrate how the performance totally lost me. The 35 minute presentation began with around two minutes of very loud static. This thankfully subsided and was followed by a dense collage of sounds and indeterminate vocals; two dancers took the stage and proceeded to shadow box, posing enigmatically à la Madonna during her vogue period. The sound and lighting on stage was brilliant, as they threw shapes against a broad canvas; but there seemed to be little in the way of actual dance. ‘Synchronicity’ is according to Wikipedia, the occurrence of two or more events that appear to be meaningfully related but not causally related. Synchronicity holds that such events are meaningful coincidences. Whilst a tremendous amount of thought has gone into the performance, all I saw was the dancers simply mimicking each other’s actions. Perhaps I just didn’t get it, but I imagine this would be hard to digest even for an audience more used to decoding contemporary dance.
The second performance, 10 Tracks for the End of the World is a solo piece performed to an eclectic collection of songs. It marks Riccardo Buscarini’s first ten years in dance, and the 10 tracks are a collection of moments in which he felt the need to escape and a desire ‘for the end of the world to wipe everything away’. So Riccardo begins with a series of pirouettes each followed by a dizzy stumble to the ground. Then the first track Lamento Della Ninfa begins and he proceeds to decant 10 boxes of salt onto the floor; he traces the figure ‘10’. Nine more tracks followed as he performed an interpretation for each. Sadly, again I found this baffling. I’m sure the gradual collection of salt into mounds on the floor meant something, but it just wasn’t getting through to me. The song selection was interesting; My Body is a Cage by Arcade Fire; Transmission by Joy Division, Beck’s Profanity Prayers and Spellbound by Siouxsie & The Banshees were all original choices, but they weren’t backed up with any real expression which I could uncover.
Despite my best efforts, I just couldn’t get to grips with either piece. All three dancers are agile, talented performers who have a lot to offer, but in my opinion these productions don’t display their abilities in the best possible light.
Two to Tune
Choreography: Lola Murray
Performers: James Morgan, Laureline Richard
Producer: Helen Goodman
10 Tracks for the End of the World
Concept & Performance: Riccardo Buscarini
Dramaturgy in Collaboration with: Elisabetta Consonni
Box Office: 020 7121 1100
Booking link: http://www.theplace.org.uk/tags/box-office
Booking until: This production has now completed its run