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Sebastian Rex Dance Group

 Naughty!

 

 ‘Modern Romance – a fairytale’
Running time 35 min


 
Acting Like Mad; ‘$ellebrity’
Running time 25 min

 

Writer/ Director/ Choreographer- Sebastian Rex

 

Blue Elephant Theatre

 

11- 29 May 2010

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A review by Amy Smith for EXTRA! EXTRA!

“Writer/ director/ choreographer Sebastian Rex (God Cried Woof 2009, Toy Boy/Living With… 2008) returns with Naughty!, A double-bill of contemporary dance and new writing, this performance explores the last decade’s process of individualisation, “ so reads the programme.

Modern Romance- Sebastian Rex Dance Group

Full-length contemporary dance piece Modern Romance examines gender politics and the effect of the re-definition of identity on our modern interpretations of love and romance. With an eclectic soundtrack of pop songs that dominated the charts throughout the Noughties- Modern Romance attempts a neoteric take on a classic fairytale with a cast of fairies, prisoners and of course, a pair of star-crossed lovers.
More storytelling than actual dance- the piece mimics a simple ballet minus the gruelling balletic technique.  Ballet, being the genre of dance that communicates a narrative through movement, is what Mr Rex endeavours in this contemporary classic. Act 1 presents the performance with a duet of movement- which is an augmented performance of physical theatre rather than dance, full of pedestrian qualities and the usual little motifs- it sets the scene for the audience simply yet boldly. The movement is interesting and peculiar which contrasts with the Nutcracker-esque costumes. However, reading the programme and learning the training academies the dancers attended one could not help feeling that the choreography did not push them and their abilities to their bodies’ limits - a theme which seemed to run throughout the entire piece.

Modern Romance explores a variety of characters that reflect the multitude of personalities and textures of society.  The ‘Pink and Orange Fairies’ played by Matthew Crouzieres and Jo Sadler- Lovett represent the ‘chav’ scene of society incredibly well, with sterling performance and believable dialogue; complete with hoodies and plenty of attitude!

It was not until Act 2 that the performance actually begins to feel more like a dance piece.  The choreography cleverly following the music- the piece taking a turn to the dark side, employing low lighting and costumes of a more abstract nature.  Quick, stuttered movements perfectly in sync with the Bjork track ‘Oll Birtan’ leads onto quirky contact work which at times looked rather too rehearsed, and lacked that risk and fortuity that is craved whilst viewing this type of movement.  However, it offered an intriguing performance from dancer Lisa Bender, as it was difficult to take the eyes off this Laban trained performer as she seems to disjoint herself mentally and physically from the choreography- incredibly effective for her role in this production as a zombie- like prisoner.


In Act 4 the audience are journeyed back to the dungeon- where finally the whole cast perform together on the stage.  There really were moments of pure aesthetic beauty between the dancers throughout the contact work here; however one can’t help feel as though there just was not enough of this, perhaps leaving the audience hungry for a deeper relationship and connection between the dancers themselves.  A smoother transition of music may have enabled this production to flow with less divide and staccato.  Overall, an enjoyable dance production which failed to fuel my thirst for dance skill and expertise, but it did make up for this with imagination and enthusiasm.

 

$ellebrity- Acting Like Mad

This dark comedy asks a very simple question – if celebrities sell themselves to the public – who owns them?  A very short play about commodities, $ellebrity explores the idea of an X- Factor like celebrity- ‘the star’ who is captured by admirers who verbally torture his ever inflating ego. With only three actors in the entire piece, this short comedy is easy to watch, easy to laugh at and easy to relate to.  With two female actors and one male, the production is carried brilliantly by lead female Kate Chisholm- whose role as ‘the girl’ is fantastically comical. Her consistent energy and enthusiasm delivers an outstanding, entertaining monologue which permits the audience to take a view of mass produced celebrities through the eyes of Sebastian Rex.

As humorously satisfying as the drama is, at times actor Ido Gonen (the star) drifts in and out of character.  Unimpressed with his American accent, the audience might feel that the character should have possessed a little more gusto and assertiveness in his role - perhaps an intended direction from Rex, nonetheless contributing a flat element to the theatre.

There is a strong link to modern and popular culture with this short piece of theatre, that is sure to have you laughing your Simon Cowell’s off within minutes of  commencing and ending with a first rate twist.  $ellebrity is short and sweet, but may make the audience feel slightly uncomfortable.  However, it makes an interesting half an hour to the second half of this double bill.  Admittedly one bit of advice to follow might be to think about who you may take along with you to this performance that is filled with sexual acts, references and innuendoes- it might have some of the audience blushing and wondering what they let themselves in for! 

Sebastian’s take on the ‘Noughties’ isn’t exactly positive with a view of a celebrity and sex obsessed culture and materialistic youth, one may think the director has not enjoyed the events bought about by pop culture over the preceding ten years. However, his subtle satire and hilarious script does allow the audience to day dream about cringe worthy memories and reminisce with a smile.

 

Blue Elephant Theatre
59A Bethwin Road
London, England SE5 0XT

020 7701 0100

www.blueelephanttheatre.co.uk

Ticket price: £9.00
£6.50 (concessions)
£4.50 (Southwark residents)

 

 

 

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