Avant Garde Dane (Tony Adiguin)
Touring till 28 October
Runs 1h 45m, on interval
Revie: Alexander Ray Edser, Birmingham Hippodrome, 21 10 16
Political dance – hugely successful.
This energetic and talented group of young dancers present a quite different view of the well-known Oliver story. And they tell it with passion. In flipping the tale, it becomes an account of society’s underbelly, young people forced to scrape an existence in order to live. But while they find a kind of freedom, they are in fact just oppressed by a different oppressor.
This is a hugely successful show. In part, of course, because of the quality of the dance – it’s accurate, tough, immediate, and great use is made of occasional moments of stillness and silence. But there is something else too, there is a vulnerability in the story-telling, stemming from it’s lack of empty artifice. The young company’s anger comes through and pulls us into the story.
The dance style draws from many sources, but its base is in hip-hop; it can’t be missed that there is a close link between the development of hip-hop and the setting of this story. The company have found the way to merge text and dance, neither feels out of place. At times there are witty references in the text to the original, though ‘Can I have some more’ is completely transformed into something really dark and disturbing.
A simple set keeps everything smoothly on the move, and there is a terrific soundscape-music track; it moves easefully in and out of its forms, creating both atmosphere and a platform for the dancers.
This is political theatre. We can be left in no doubt of this with the final sequence in which we see the helpless young people freed from one oppressor only to find themselves under the thumb of another, even worse. And capitalism is ever on the horizon.