Alain Platel / Les Ballet C de la B, Wolf

Review in Issue 17-1 | Spring 2005

Is it time yet for nostalgia for the naughty nineties? Platel’s Wolf fuses opera, dance, circus and theatre and features over 50 living creatures on stage – musicians, dancers and dogs. Set in a shopping mall, the aesthetic is 90s Eurotresh meets Pizzaman’s Sex on the Streets. We are enveloped in an ocean of sound, the strongest element of the piece: screeched text, the clanking of metal steps and shutters, gun shots, humming glasses, singers with the voices of angels – and achingly beautiful music (mostly Mozart – the Wolf is as much a tribute to Wolfgang as a reference to the dogs) played by the Klangforum Wien orchestra, who are placed within the impressive set of lock-up wire units and walkways. The choreography is a mix of highly staged set pieces (the dancers) and random improvisation (the dogs, who wander around freely for much of the piece). There’s Bausch-like gestural dance, a bubble-wrap animation, some rather tame aerial tissu, sur pointe piss-takes, flag-waving, break dancing – and a grotesque ‘pregnancy’ that results in the emergence of a miniature dog from a dancer’s costume. Much is over familiar material to anyone versed in contemporary dance-theatre. Wolf is an extraordinary achievement in its staging and its artistic collaborations, but suffers from the postmodern disease: it’s an image overload of juxtaposed signifiers with no sense of statement, essence or commitment from the artist behind the work. We sit absorbing the spectacle open-mouthed, but as we leave, the ironic smile dissolves and we re-enter the world feeling nothing much has changed.

Presenting Festival
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Sep 2004

This article in the magazine

Issue 17-1
p. 29