Medusa, Sadlers Wells London, 4****: William Russell



Choreography by Jasmine Vardimon

Text by Jasmine Vardimon & Joshua Smith


Sadlers Wells Theatre, Roseberry Avenue, London EC1R 4TN to 24 October 2018.

Runs 80 Mins No interval.

TICKETS: 0333 023 1556




Review: William Russell 22 October.

The myth of Medusa and the world today

Superbly danced to an eclectic, if initially at least , slightly over amplified score using everyone from Edward Grieg to Nico Vega & Sonny Bono, Handel to Yael Naim by way of Wim Mertens, Jasmine Vardimon has celebrated twenty years of creativity with this new ballet about Medusa. It is stunning to look at, the dancers create wonderful shapes and are stunningly athletic, but the mixing up of themes does become hard to follow. Medusa, raped by Poseidon, she was one of three Gorgon’s who had the power to turn anyone who crossed their eyes into stone. It was her fate to be killed by Perseus, who cut off her head. But Medusa is also a Spanish waters jelly fish, so there are images of water and the sea – some stunning use of large sheets of plastic beneath which dancers writhe – and then there is the whole problem of climate change and the environment. That abundance of all enveloping plastic in accident.

The consumer society’s disastrous effect on the environment is illustrated by the appearance of a man with a dustbin stuffed with plastic waste on his head which he proceeds to spill all over the stage.It is a stunning image.

I suppose you can make sense of it all, but best to go with the flow, watch how the dancers writhe across the stage like snakes, are sinuous and limp one moment, taut and statuesque the next and think about it afterwards.

Who plays who is anybody’s guess. The dancers identify with no specific role. This is an ensemble in the best sense of the word. The programme has an incomprehensible article by Armando Rotondi which throws no light to speak of on the goings on, fascinating though it is to read. There are a series of chimneys spilling forth industrial waste which could just as easily be the pillars of a temple, darkness engulfs everything and then there is light and over it all – Medusa was a creature of the sea – the images of water flowing are repeated. As for that head of snakes, it is created with rope.

So there you have it – the world of the Greek myth is tangled up with the capitalist world of today, with climate change and pollution and the wasting of the environment. As for Medusa, she is the epitome of the strong woman who dealt with all who crossed her.

Dancers: Joshua Smith, Olga Calve, Andre Rebel, Jasmine Orr, Kieran Shannon, Silken Mays, Patricia Hartwell Pig, Lucia Bo civic.

Director, Choreographer & Set Designer: Jasmine Version.

Lighting Design: Amado Solernou.

Costume Design: Abigail Hammond.

Sound Researcher: Peter Hall.

Artistic & Visual Adviser: Guy Bar-Amotz.

Production Photographs: Tristam Kenton.


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