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Plan B For Utopia - Review - Pleasance Courtyard

Plan B For Utopia, Pleasance Courtyard – Review

Pros: Strong physical performances and lovely music

Cons: The theatre wasn’t big enough to house all our dreams

Pros: Strong physical performances and lovely music Cons: The theatre wasn’t big enough to house all our dreams Since the premiere of Joan Clevillé’s Plan B for Utopia in 2015, we’ve seen the referendum vote to leave the EU, the election of Donald Trump, and the continued spate of terror attacks. With impressive clarity of vision, Clevillé has succeeded in creating a choreographic language that resonates with humanity and remains relevant in these rapidly changing times. Fittingly, the two performers (Clevillé and Solène Weinachter) begin with the question ‘where do we start?’ The initial answer is playful: ‘with some dancing!’…

Summary

Rating

Unmissable

Tenderness and hilarity blend in this inspired piece which cleverly crosses genres and poses questions on the nature and necessity of our hopes and dreams

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Since the premiere of Joan Clevillé’s Plan B for Utopia in 2015, we’ve seen the referendum vote to leave the EU, the election of Donald Trump, and the continued spate of terror attacks. With impressive clarity of vision, Clevillé has succeeded in creating a choreographic language that resonates with humanity and remains relevant in these rapidly changing times.

Fittingly, the two performers (Clevillé and Solène Weinachter) begin with the question ‘where do we start?’ The initial answer is playful: ‘with some dancing!’ They plop down a flashing disco-ball and whiz through a selection of social dance steps. Their matching mustard-coloured checked shirts are reminiscent of uniforms worn by staff in menial corporate jobs and the piece shifts continually between the manufactured dreams we are sold, and those we keep to ourselves.

Like friendly guides, Clevillé and Weinachter speak directly to the audience and to each other as they move fluidly between physical story-telling, dance and theatre. As Clevillé mimes to Judy Garland, Weinachter manipulates his arms using coat-hangers. In a virtuoso display of physicality, Weinachter tells the fairy-tale of an old man whose every wish is granted by a magic tree, only for him to lose everything as a result of his pessimism. The coloured blocks which litter the stage speak of the impulse to pick up the pieces and keep rebuilding, but as Weinachter marches about shouting optimistic platitudes the question is posed, ‘according to whose plan?’

The simple dream of boy meets girl is addressed when the performers sit together at the single microphone and tentatively reveal their desires. They move from humour to intimacy with beguiling delicacy, and play on the audience’s expectations as their relationship suddenly appears entirely real, and the stakes unbearably high. Their unpretentious style and use of recognisable music succeeds in involving the audience throughout. When Weinachter performs an appalling rendition of ‘Imagine’ on a toy piano the audience sings along with a thrilling mixture of reluctance, automatism, and sincerity.

The finale draws everything together in a movement sequence which captures the fragility and intimacy of shared dreams with stunning simplicity. Unforgettable.

Author: Joan Clevillé
Director: Joan Clevillé
Choreographer: Joan Clevillé with dancers Solène Weinachter and John Kendall
Booking Until: This show has now finished its run

 

About Alexandra Gray

Alexandra Gray
Alexandra’s love of physical theatre first became clear at five years old when she veered off script in the school nativity play. At the entrance of the Angel Gabriel, she cartwheeled across the stage crying ‘Yippee, an angel of the lord!’ and the Virgin Mary burst into tears. Following this auspicious start, she went on to study dance and theatre and is currently doing her Masters in English Literature. When not in the library or at the theatre, she can be found singing jazz professionally, teaching yoga, and growing broad beans.