Walker/Stream by Maria Nilsson Waller.
Smock Alley Theatre, 7 Lower Exchange Street, County Dublin. To 13 April.
8 pm. Saturday matinee at 2.30 pm.
Runs 50 mins, one interval.
Tickets: 00 3531 677 0014 www.smockalley.com
Review: Michael Paye 11 April 2013.
Never quite evolves into what it promises
Walking into the stage area, we are presented with a limp body lying face down, an inert object with long auburn hair frozen on the floor. Maria Nilsson Waller has not yet moved, but she certainly has our attention.
“Walker” is a story of evolution from the slouching lowest bottom-dweller to man walking forward through the ages. We are treated to some genuinely striking movements, particularly in the early evolution stages, as Maria demonstrates her skill and finesse as she embodies a variety of insects. However, by the time we evolve into homo-sapiens, there does not seem to be much to say, yet the performance continues for several minutes with a series of banal repetitious steps and movements.
The second act again begins very strongly. Being called “Stream,” you might expect some sort of flow to the movements, and Maria delivers on this. One particularly striking motif involves her spinning on a sheet of flowing water-like plastic which whirls around her, more ballet than experimental, and very eye-catching. Indeed, the precision of her movements throughout the performance shows a mix of both ballet style and experimental dance, and for the most part the combination is very effective.
Unfortunately, the second act suffers the same fate as the first, as what starts as intriguing and promising fades into overly repetitious and nonsensical patterns.
With a bare set in the first act accompanied by an uninspiring soundtrack, followed by some wonderful bone-shaking base and water effects to accompany the second act, “Walker / Stream” has several striking moments, but also several movements which frustrate any cogency and fluidity in the performance. The seeds of an excellent dance piece are here, but ultimately sections of the choreography leave a lot to be desired.
Dancing and Choreography: Maria Nilsson Waller.
Music: Steve Reich.
Lighting: Colm Mc Nally.