6.0: HOW HEAP AND PEBBLE TOOK ON THE WORLD AND WON
by Valentina Ceschi and Thomas Eccleshare.
Dancing Brick Tour to 12 November 2010.
Runs 55min No interval.
Review: Timothy Ramsden 11 September at BAC.
An enjoyable miniature.
Something’s happened in the world of ice-skating – the ice has disappeared. I’m not sure this is explained in Dancing Brick’s short performance. I picked it up from the publicity material; others may be more acute. There again, I’m not clear why melting polar caps should affect figure-skating competitions. If there’s enough money in it – and there must be – synthetic ice can be made available.
Nor does there seem much point in preparing your routine regardless; you’d have thought during such an ecological meltdown people would have other things to think about. Still, that’s obsession for you, that’s belief in what you were doing. Even when Heap Krusiak’s back takes overmuch strain as he lifts and whirls partner Pebble Adverati, the pair bravely, or obstinately, dance on – although, presumably, no insurance company would cover them for injury seeing that they’re not actually cutting any ice.
Only their stated reputation as long-time world champions could raise all this above, at best, an amusing footnote in the news. What makes the piece are the performers. The fixed plastic smile with glimpses of anxiety from Valentina Ceschi is both comic and a sign of the stress beneath the skin. Similarly, Thomas Eccleshare’s constant smiles while inducting individuals from the audience into their roles in the action (something confined mainly to becoming instant interviewers). And his close contact and her greater distance point-up how opposites work well in double-acts.
Eccleshare’s overt whisperings to individuals, alongside his confident smiles to the audience in general sum up the performer’s double-awareness, while the duo’s history of giving their ice-act social significance and finding ways of fitting their routines to the small-print of competition rules shows the performer’s continuing ambition.
It’s a gentle, ultimately inconclusive piece, performed with good nature and comic detail. It asks a lot of back-story be taken on trust and what it actually shows is more limited than its theme might suggest. But the contrast between upfront moments with the audience and times when the pair persevere through difficulties, encouraging each other, neatly describes the double relationship artists have, with fellow-performers and their audiences.
Performers/Directors: Valentina Ceschi, Thomas Eccleshare.
Designer: Adrian Jones.
Lighting: Rob Pell Walpole.
Sound: Marco Ruffatti.
Costume: Lucy Minyo.
Associate dramaturge: Lu Kemp.