Compagnie Beau Geste, Transport Exceptionnels

Review in Issue 21-1 | Spring 2009

Having premiered in the UK last year at Dance Umbrella, Compagnie Beau Geste return to the UK for a prolonged tour with their genuinely crowd-pleasing duet for mechanical digger and dancer, seeing an eclectic audience at this, the first part of The Playhouse’s new ‘Playin’ Out’ initiative.

Transport Exceptionnels builds its magic on the incongruity of a man dancing with a digger, and the realisation of the boyhood fantasy of large machines doing things in contexts they are not necessarily designed for. Thus the scooping and sweeping arm of this (particularly clean) example of mechanical engineering is matched to the striding and rolling form of the grey-haired Phillipe Priasso and set within the soaring emotional landscape of operatic arias. It is a magical event that resists being dominated by the digger.

Domique Boivan has achieved a choreographic balance between machine and man’s roles in the ensuing romance that lends a certain tenderness to both parties. Most striking are the moments when Priasso is lifted and carried by his steel partner, suspended from the digger’s arm by his own. In these arcs there is both humanity and vulnerability. The forms of man and digger are amplified into something approaching a kinaesthetic ecstasy, a feeling that weakens when Priasso allows his partner to move without him. The over-riding memory, though, is one of a hulking tenderness bought to heel by a soft-fleshed man in his fifties.

Presenting Artists
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Cherwell School, Oxford Playhouse Plays Out

Date Seen
  1. Oct 2008

This article in the magazine

Issue 21-1
p. 33