Pros: Inventive movement vocabulary complemented perfectly by witty original music.
Cons: A slightly flat beginning, perhaps caused by the absence of projections used in previous productions.
The unmistakable sound of an alarm clock kicked off this dynamic and entertaining piece for the six dancers of Prague’s 420People. Lined up at the front of the stage, they make several attempts to run at wooden crates which are balanced on their sides, and to hop up onto them without toppling off. The ‘will they or won’t they’ tension drew the audience in, and there was humour when the dancer at the end of the line faltered several times.
A wealth of movement ideas were packed into forty minutes. The mechanisms of clocks were depicted with delightful clarity. Arms sweeping and swimming became heavy pendulums and hands, while tiny vibrating movements illustrated the intricate cogs and wheels. When the dancers moved in unison the music seemed to come to the foreground – metronomic yet full of contrast, layered with lighthearted ticks, tocks, and bells.
The crates on the stage evoked images of labour, industry and uniformity. The motif of the dancer on the end of the line who wouldn’t conform reoccurred several times; perhaps a clock that wouldn’t work, or a worker that wouldn’t clock on.
A female dancer seated on a crate read aloud the safety instructions for a powerful spring used in clock mechanisms, which advised caution due to its potential for explosive energy. As the music swelled to a climax the piece seemed to touch on wider themes – repetition and memory, and the oppressive nature of clock-time. The dancers leapt and spun in unison and their joyful vitality seemed to defy time even as they moved with it, before finally leaving us in breathless silence.