Wendy Houstoun, Daunted

Review in Issue 8-4 | Winter 1996

In this, the second in a trilogy of solo pieces, Wendy Houstoun affirmed her place at the cutting edge of contemporary dance theatre. Daunted was twenty minutes of ‘stand-up’ dance – in which Houstoun stood at a microphone and told jokes that were animated with simple dance phrases. This style neatly combined text with movement and wryly sent up contemporary dance at the same time. The gags were re-workings of the classic ‘Englishman, Irishman, Scotsman’ variety, accept in this case they began, ‘There was this pirouette who went into a bar…’ The odd juxtaposition of choreography and comedy was amusing. In typical observational comedy style, Houstoun talked about the peculiarly physical way in which the financial news is reported by the media. Illustrating through movement the ‘rising and falling’ of stocks and shares, for instance. And in unashamedly comic style, she sang Ce Sera, Sera – altering the words to hilariously catalogue her financial hopes and fears. The delivery throughout was off-beat and introverted as if the performer was close to the edge of breakdown. Towards the end, the visual comedy slipped effortlessly into more philosophical musings on alienation and the breakdown of community thus continuing the political thread of Houstoun’s work with DV8 Physical Theatre. Particularly worthy of praise was the quality of the text which communicated so effectively due to its accuracy of observation. This piece did, however, feel a little inadequate. Rich in content, but brief in delivery, like a fragment of a more satisfying whole.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Festival
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Oct 1996

This article in the magazine

TT 8-4
Issue 8-4
p. 19