The first London Culture Club outing was to a performance at ‘The Place’, a small dance school and theatre near Kings Cross that has been running 40 years. Both tired from a long day at work me and my wonderful friend, Alex, sat down to catch up over a few drinks in the theatre bar before the show began. We scurried excitedly to the auditorium at the sound of the bell and managed to nab a couple of front row seats.
A lone white figure lay motionless on the black stage and the music started, the crowd grew hush. The figure arose gracefully to reveal it’s form…a unicorn? Hold on, I thought this was ‘Swan Lake via The Ugly Duckling’? Hmmm…
Summary of act one:
The unicorn trotted horse-like round the stage. It left. A man in very large, very flimsy white pants came on stage, flapped a bit, threw some feathers around, then thrust his gentials in our direction. A woman came to clear up the feathers while a bit of Swan Lake was shown on a TV. The unicorn came back and committed suicide. The duck guy emerged from the unicorn outfit and took off his pants (another pair was underneath, thank god). Then it was the interval.
Now I’m no dance genius so I turned to Alex, who has had some training, and raised a quizzical eyebrow. She said, ‘I didn’t quite get it either. The…err…movement was nice. Wasn’t too sure about the bit with his genitals.’ We concluded that ‘Mr Thorley’ must have been smoking something interesting and agreed that the ballet on the telly was very nice. Must put a ballet on London Culture Clubs ‘to do’ list.
Once more into the breach dear friends for part deux…
Argentine tango. Oh good. I like this the best on ‘Strictly’. Bit of a slow start. Oh balls! Beginning to think first foray into becoming a cultured young lady was misguided. But then…absolute magic!
The stage was transformed into a tube platform and the dancers accidentally meet via a renegade umbrella. The use of the prop as a third person (perhaps Fate) bringing them back into hold whenever they tried to separate was flirtatious and a welcome addition to the duo. The male solo twisted himself in knots – literally – when his new love left and then there was some extremely good leg flicky bits and graceful leaning when she came back. The story of the couple’s relationship ended with a glorious slow section which melted into classic ‘slow dance’ position to the sounds of ‘My Funny Valentine’. Trés romantique and one of my favourite songs.
All in all this was my favourite piece of the evening, despite a few dodgy sections, and I would recommend seeing ‘Fusion Dance’ once they’ve had a little more experience.
The third act, ‘Archanna Ballal’, were technically excellent but the Tai Chi / Capoeira style was a bit too slow for my tastes. There was a partnered section which had some complex lifts and dramatic choreography. I enjoyed that immensely but the other 60% of it lacked any real passion for me, which I found strange from a piece that intended to explore desire.
- Dreaming of falling in love on my morning commute
- Some very impressive lifts
- The lovely old couple sitting next to us who had been coming to shows there since it had opened
Would I go again?
Yes. I think I probably need to learn a bit more about modern dance to properly understand it but I was impressed by the athleticism of the dancers and entertained, which is basically the aim of the game, isn’t it? Besides, how many people can say they’ve seen a half-naked man exploding a bag of feathers? I can, can you?
Unfortunately it proved difficult for people to get down at such short notice but a lot of interest in the London Culture Club project has been expressed in the Twitterverse. I urge you not to be one of those people who thinks, ‘What a wonderful way for me to try new things and meet new people.’ but then never actually comes. There’s a whole wide world of weird duck men and tangoing commuters out there so get involved!
See you soon,
‘Resolution!’ Is running Mon-Sat evenings until 20th Feb. To find out more about the ‘Resolution!’ series and other peformances at The Place please visit the ‘What’s On’ page. Read an alternative review of the evening here.