Yolande Snaith Theatredance, Maximum Machine

Review in Issue 12-2 | Summer 2000

Performers initially costumed as characters are trapped in a world where measurement rules; movement reveals both individual obsessions with key scientific concepts and neurotic attempts to escape. Physical experiments become training exercises elevated to choreography: watching continuous repetitive sequences that contain small changes you start to notice details, and the detailed way one is obliged to watch begets involvement. There is little to involve spectators on an emotional or narrative level, for there is no expression except that of arduousness of task. Still one is drawn by the ingenuity of bodily expression.

I am amazed not only by the performers themselves, but by combinations of things – the timing of ropes and pulleys and punch bags, and performers pulling and rolling and climbing and then breaking out into the naked space in front of the set, to dance in partnered pieces that resemble Meyerhold's etudes. At one point the audience burst into spontaneous laughter, generated by the inherent wit of a duet.

In an age pressured by time management and gym fever, the expressive images of mechanistic mentality resonate beyond the past that fuelled this piece – the 18th century with its new-found love of machinery. A quite marvellous tent-shaped set provides an interactive structure integral to the action. And a brilliant understanding of stage rhythm and visual composition makes for a mesmerising whole. This is movement with meaning, dance to set you thinking: Wordless, surreal theatre that haunts you well after the performance.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Mar 2000

This article in the magazine

Issue 12-2
p. 26 - 27