Author Archives: Lisa Wolfe


About Lisa Wolfe

Lisa Wolfe is a freelance theatre producer and project manager of contemporary small-scale work. Companies and people she has supported include: A&E Comedy, Three Score Dance, Pocket Epics, Jennifer Irons,Tim Crouch, Liz Aggiss, Sue MacLaine, Spymonkey and many more. Lisa was Marketing Manager at Brighton Dome and Festival (1989-2001) and has also worked for South East Dance, Chichester Festival Theatre and Company of Angels. She is Marketing Manager for Carousel, learning-disability arts company.

FKP/ Cristian Ceresoli: Happy Hour

The old ones go first. Disappeared at night by policemen with jaguars. They’re found in the drained aquarium, lying very still.

In his follow up to the hugely acclaimed La Merde (reviewed 2012), Italian writer Cristian Ceresoli creates a world where the dog is red and God is a well-endowed nude with tattoos; where ambition is everything and human skin is traded. Our two unreliable narrators are a brother and sister; Kerfuffle, nicknamed Bafu (Stefano Cenci) and his sister Ado (Silvia Gallerano.) Pubescent 13-year-olds eager for adventures, they are narrating their life story. Whether we trust them or not is up to us.

It takes a moment to adjust your ears to the Italian accents, but once aboard, you’re off on a torrent of words, a journey that flows and eddies through light and dark until you wash up an hour later, beached and bruised. No safe harbour here.

Bafu lives for football and Adu for dance; dad is harsh and ambitious for them both, ‘we are his lasting hope, my sister and I’. Mum likes a drink and a good time. The family unit struggles to keep itself together as society falls apart and puberty adds complications: willy size is important on the football team. Grandpa is missing. A picture builds with hints of a police state and ethnic cleansing, of brutal guards and sinister buildings peopled with corpses. But is the cat really blue, is mum naked under a transparent cagoule, is it even an aquarium? Memory is subjective and childhood full of imagination. We don’t know who to believe.

Cenci and Gallerano are wholly convincing as children and their playfully antagonistic relationship rings true. Dressed in maroon vests and navy pants (almost West Ham colours) they are mocking and punchy with each other, competitive but supportive. There is real sibling love between them as they strive to keep a grip on circumstances that change quickly and are beyond their, or their parents’, control.

Ceresoli’s rich, poetic text is so full of descriptive imagery that you could shut your eyes and see this unnamed city in technicolour, hear it sing. To do so would be to miss two performances of extraordinary force and sensitivity. Like kids, Cenci and Gallerano are rarely still, leaping and prowling over pieces of rostra in an unrestrained dance, full of fire. Clever lighting conjures up secret spaces and brings key moments into focus. Simon Boberg directs the movement with elegance and pace . A rhythmic, subtle soundtrack by Stefano Piro adds tension but never overwhelms.

So how, you may be asking, does all this relate the title, Happy Hour? Ceresoli has said that ‘In Happy Hour we are dealing with a condition of “dictatorship of happiness” and that the children see this coming. “Mom and dad are happy, because being happy is a must.”’

Whilst the words ‘happy hour’ are repeated at intervals, and there’s a horrifically vivid, physical realisation of it at the end, it’s not quite strong enough as a central theme. What we get most powerfully is a play about the rawness and vulnerability of childhood, showing how a city – ‘Paris! New York! Milan! Beijing!’ – any city, can slide stealthily into chaos.

A play that surprises like surrealism and sounds like a symphony, angry, passionate and compelling.

We are all… Cooped!


Lisa Wolfe and her trusty sidekick Peter Chrisp have been to see Spymonkey’s Cooped. Lots of times. So how has it fared, twenty years on?

This year Spymonkey celebrated their 20th anniversary with a revival of their most widely seen show, Cooped. We fell in love with Cooped when we first saw it at Komedia in July 2001, and went on to see it again as often as possible over the years.

Directed by Cal McCrystal, (now famous as the director of One Man, Two Guvnors, Don Quixote at the RSC, Iolanthe for ENO and much more), Cooped is a pulp Gothic horror inspired by Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca and the 1960s horror soap Dark Shadows, which Cal watched as child in the USA. Lucy Bradridge’s wood-panelled set is based on Collinwood Mansion in Dark Shadows.

Like their first show Stiff – Undertaking Undertaking, (which won a Total Theatre Award and other accolades at Edinburgh Fringe 2000) the play is supposedly written by the classically trained actor-manager Forbes Murdston (Toby Park), who has miscast three unsuitable performers – the Spanish soap star Alfredo Gravés (Aitor Basauri), the German Expressionist Udo Keller (Stephan Kriess) and catalogue model Mandy Bandy (Petra Massey). Mathew Baynton (an actor and director who was Cal McCrystal’s assistant on Spymonkey’s 2007 show Bless) called ‘the multi-layered dynamic of a Spymonkey show – the actors are playing clowns who are playing characters.’ In this new version, Forbes announces at the start of the show that ‘unfortunately, all the original cast are still available.’

In Cooped, Mandy Bandy is playing Laura du Lay, ‘a young girl who arrives at a remote railway station in the heart of darkest Northumberlandshirehampton to take up her position as confidential secretary to the reclusive Forbes Murdston. Beautiful, fawn-like, swinging, but a hostage to passion, Laura knows now that life – and love – will never be the same again… And her an orphan!’


The comedy comes from the clowns’ conflicting agendas and delusions. Murdston believes he has created a serious drama. Mandy Bandy is unaware of the negative impact on her ‘fawn-like’ performance of her ‘digestive problem’, conniption fits and inability to bend. Gravés, cast in the character parts, mistakenly believes that he is the romantic lead, and that the audience is full of fans of his Spanish telenovela Hospital Tropical. Keller is an anarchist who doesn’t care what the audience thinks of him and who despises Gravés, sabotaging his performance at every opportunity.

In 2003, when Spymonkey failed to get Arts Council funding for a third Forbes Murdston play, they went to Las Vegas and spent two years working with Cirque du Soleil. When they returned to the UK in 2006, they brought an expanded Cooped, with a bigger set for midscale touring. The show was twenty minutes longer and now had an interval. There were also two musical numbers and a routine with ping pong balls that had been judged too filthy for Las Vegas. The new version, which we saw at Theatre Royal Brighton during the 2006 Brighton Festival, was a triumphant homecoming for Spymonkey. We saw it again later that year at the Assembly Rooms in the Edinburgh Fringe where it was shortlisted for a Total Theatre Award. It was back in Brighton again in 2013 at The Old Market followed by a run at the Leicester Square Theatre.

The 2019 production, (a Worthing Theatres and Brighton Festival partnership) has again been reworked by Cal McCrystal. It has a rebuilt set (the earlier one was thrown out, supposedly not needed anymore) and smart new costumes by Lucy Bradridge. Laura du Lay’s dream sequences, involving Hassidic Jews and Chinese martial arts fighters, have been cut to avoid causing offence. In their place, we have quarrelling monks and two scenes recycled from the 2007 show Bless – a folk song and the parable of Mother Theresa, the Good Samaritan and the dirty beggar. The monks have less to fight about than the Jews did (no penis size comparisons here), and the song, in this acoustically challenging venue, is hard to hear and lacks context. There’s also some added magic – it’s filler, but fun.

Watching Cooped many times means you can’t recapture the surprise impact of scenes like the naked dance sequence, which still draws gasps of disbelief from audiences. Forbes struggling to erect a horizontal Laura remains a remarkable physical sequence, and Keller is as grotesquely expressionist as ever. Old-handers like us look forward to certain moments, such as the deranged thing Murdston does with his tongue during his suave opening speech, or Gravés taking Murdston’s pulse and winking for his Hospital Tropical fans. Will the egg dropped at the end by a flying pheasant hit or miss him, or even knock off his toupée, as it did at the Royal & Derngate, Northampton in 2007?

Cooped will always be a show that some find baffling but the vast majority thoroughly enjoy, and it has been Spymonkey’s calling card for over 20 years.



Reading the company chronology, not just of Cooped but the total output, is a snapshot of how the UK theatre scene has shifted over the past 20 or so years. In the early years, whilst making audiences laugh a lot, and despite the brilliant performance skills, the company often struggled to get funding, or bookings or reviews, sitting as they do between comedy and drama. Over the years, Spymonkey have claimed and celebrated the theatre clown tradition and connected British audiences to a more European strand of ‘total theatre’ that is beyond the well-made play. Their contemporaries Peepolykus, The Right Size and Ridiculusmus, to name but a few, followed a similar trajectory.

Thank goodness they stuck with it, as today the genre is everywhere, from Little Bulb and A&E Comedy on one scale to The Play That Goes Wrong on another, an accepted and celebrated form of meta-theatre.

The quartet has rare longevity, perhaps because two of them live abroad (Stefan in Vienna, Aitor in Bilbao) and distance keeps the relationship and the energy fresh. In 2006 Toby described how the characters they play stem from their own personalities and quirks: ‘Petra is extremely dense with the most fantastic talent for malapropisms. According to the others, I’m the good looking but rather boring one. Aitor is fat and lazy. And Stefan – how can you mock Stefan? Well, he’s the German.’ Cal McCrystal built on this chemistry, also exploited by directors including Jos Houben and Rob Thirtle (Moby Dick 2009) Emma Rice (Oedipussy 2012) and Tim Crouch (The Complete Deaths 2016).

All four have full creative lives outside the Spymonkey bubble; variously directing, composing, teaching and performing on the world’s stages. But when they come together they are family. The muscle memory kicks in and their bodies, though 20 years older, admirably rise to the physical challenge that Cooped provides.

Now the subject of four dissertations – the BA dissertations by Mathew Baynton (mentioned above) and film director Smari Gunnarsson, both Rose Bruford alumni; and doctorate theses by Laura Cockett at Liverpool University and Lucy Amsden at Glasgow –  Spymonkey are a huge influence on younger theatre-makers, in demand for collaborations across the globe. Cooped is about to take Blackpool and Florida by storm (not literally one hopes). So all hail Spymonkey and long may they bring glorious, clever filth to audiences everywhere.


Spymonkey: Cooped photos by Jane Hobson.

Additional contributions by Peter Chrisp theatre archivist, author of Carnal, Bloody and Unnatural Acts and How Spymonkey Became for The Complete Deaths programme 2016.

Lisa Wolfe was Spymonkey’s Administrator 2006 and 2007.


Clod Ensemble: Placebo

I was shocked recently to learn that dock leaves offer no scientifically proven relief to nettle stings. What I had taken as a given all my life was not ancient folkloric wisdom but yet another tale told by those mischievous ‘old wives.’ What we choose to believe depends on how it is sold to us. We’re told the dock is balm to the nettle’s barb; that the pink tablet works better than the blue.

In Clod Ensemble’s sparky and often sparkly new show, Placebo, dance itself is used to question how the brain can be tricked and our choices engineered. Dancers are instructed to perform varieties of movement; ’dancing for pleasure’ or ‘dancing the pain’, and we’re invited to select the dance we prefer. Our choices are immaterial; the choreography moves on, with further options, new questions, new ways of moving in space and around the space, new propositions set up to be knocked down. Questions and motifs recur: a phrase is dropped in and later developed, a helpful device in this text-heavy piece. The stage fizzes with activity as the seven dancers establish their personalities and movement styles. One duet suggests a session at the osteopath as an exuberant Valerie Ebuwa vibrates with energy to an African dance-hall beat. Does their dancing this way or that way make us feel any better, or worse?

The idea of the placebo is a properly chewy topic on which to base an hour’s dance and, whilst inherently playful – a section with a spotlit mouse en pointe in particular – it is rather overloaded with ideas and propositions. Co-directors Suzy Wilson (direction) and Paul Clark (music) build layers of text, voice, movement and music that at times battle against each other for supremacy. Hansjorg Schmidt’s elegant lighting design provides a very welcome visual map, yet I found myself listening so hard to a fascinating text about fake surgery that I realised I wasn’t watching the dance at all. Which is a shame, because the company is fabulous.

They are given great scope to flash their individual movement virtuosity and the choreography is quirky and flavoursome. It feels like they have had some agency here, and are comfortable when stepping out from the fourth wall to talk directly to us. Art School’s gender-neutral costumes alter shape and add some occasional pizzaz to a bare stage.

There are some beautiful musical moments, when feet fly to fiddles or a flute trills, but the rhythms are largely those of heartbeats or the voice, which denies the dance some pace. Theatrical moments stand out for their simplicity, as in the giving of a bunch of flowers in three different moods. The most lasting image is of fake Marilyn, in a fake satin dress, a fake hair wig, smoking a fake cigarette to the voice of Peggy Shaw (of Split Britches) reading her ‘My Lonely Lungs’ monologue. It makes the work sing.

I admire the ambition of Placebo and love it in pieces rather than as a whole. Commissioned by The Place, it is underpinned by huge amounts of interrogation and research with a wide constituency of people. A whole raft of activity runs alongside each performance about the placebo effect and how it is used in modern medicine. Perhaps a tighter, more theatrical focus would have made the show totally click. We are treated to a full throttle ensemble dance at the end. You could see it coming but it really did its job.

Thank you doctor, I feel so much better now.


Featured image (top); Clod Ensemble: Placebo. Photo Camilla Greenwell.

The autumn 2018 tour of Placebo continues with a run at The Place, 30 October to 10 November. See  

The tour of Placebo is accompanied by The Power of Placebo, a national programme of events that bring together scientists, artists, ethicists and anthropologists, to explore how our attitudes, beliefs, relationships, rituals and environments can affect our health for better or for worse.

IF you can dream…

Lisa Wolfe goes to Milton Keynes’ International Festival and samples a smorgasbord of theatrical delights from around the world

Arriving in Milton Keynes under a burning July sky, it feels like a town that’s been lifted from California and dropped onto the flatlands of Buckinghamshire.

The archetypal new-town, Milton Keynes was designed to bring commerce, entertainment and easy living together for the London overspill. Now branded MK, it was officially ‘opened’ in 1967.

It seems all hard surfaces, sharp angles and straight lines, easy to decode: you’ll walk through one of the many shopping malls past the office blocks and chain restaurants, via the commercial or theatre district. So far so ordinary, but MK has deeper rhythms running through it. Midsummer Boulevard sounds like a joke name for the central strip, until you learn that it frames the rising sun on Midsummer’s Day – accompanied by Morris dancers, one hopes. Signposts in the park lead to Avebury Avenue or Silbury Street. There is mystery bubbling beneath the surface.

People work, play and shop here, but seem to live off the main grid, in nearby tower blocks or in villages that remain in the landscape. A festival provides a great opportunity to both gather people in and to take them far beyond their lived environment.

As a bold statement of intent, Milton Keynes’ International Festival ( IF) has plonked a great big circus tent in the middle of the shopping mall programmed with a range of family friendly shows at affordable prices. Sur Mesure’s Fillage is usually performed outdoors but translates well to this environment. The Belgian company has two top-notch acrobats, a versatile juggler, and a lovely horn-based band playing their own compositions, with lyrics telling of desert islands, whale hunts and oceans deep. Here the trampoline is the sea, playfully tossing the tumblers into somersaults that reach way up to the top of the tent and down onto the floor below, inches from the feet of children watching, entranced. The costumes give a nod to the maritime theme, and look sturdy enough to prevent a few bruises: they even match the interior colour scheme. Fillage neatly blends songs with action without losing pace – the musicians have some physical involvement too with good comic use of the French horn. If the show lacks some audience interaction by being in a seated venue, it’s partly countered by the tent’s gauze side-panels that generously let shoppers watch and join the applause at the end. It’s a sweet half-hour of skills and thrills.


The Democratic Set. Photo Anna Tregloan

The Democratic Set. Photo Anna Tregloan


Also in the shopping mall, Australian theatre company Back to Back is making The Democratic Set, a new work commissioned by The Open University comprising filmed portraits of local people from various walks of life. Performers occupy a cube and the camera runs across on a dolly track capturing story and movement. I watched a young martial arts expert show off her kicks. IF, and producers The Stables, have made sure that a real cross-section of people are represented, building relationships with refugee and homeless groups to get their participation. There are three days of filming before the film is edited and screened. Yes, it puts people in boxes, separately, but the space is theirs to do or say what matters to them. The end result will be a great document for the people of Milton Keynes; a visual diary of life in 2018 with a clean and compelling aesthetic.

In contrast, For The Time Being, by Schweigman& with Slagwerk Den Haag, flings a group of people into a box and makes them get on together. Human relationships are at the heart of the Dutch company’s work – another show of theirs, Blaas, which I reviewed at Brighton Festival (May 2018), similarly coaxed the audience from passive viewer to participant, though with less physical contact.



For The Time Being. Photo Jochem Jurgens

For The Time Being. Photo Jochem Jurgens


In For The Time Being we’re like a gaggle of kids at a party, trying to figure out who is in charge, and wondering what on earth is going to happen next. We enter an art gallery exhibiting what looks like Duane Hanson’s hyper-realistic sculpture. I was always very good at musical statues and grandmother’s footsteps but no way could I hold a dramatic pose for this long, let alone freely drool. It’s a relief when the human sculptures spring into life and begin their games with us. Whilst obviously super fit, the performers have no hint of staginess about them – they’re an interesting-looking bunch of thirty-somethings in casual clothes. Speed and stillness are the essence of a piece that wants us to experience time, and, whilst it’s a simple metaphor, the way the show combines the rush and the freeze is compelling. It continually surprises and is subtle in its switches from involvement to alienation, the only sounds being breath and the squeak of rubber shoes.

There is visual variety too, with patterns emerging suggestive of the Central line in rush-hour or a disorderly bee-hive trying to find a queen, held by a pool of light. The performers have exquisite timing and precision, with supreme spatial awareness antennae. There is a current of danger – you might easily get bumped and need to stay aware – but no threat, just that bee-like buzz. We look at each other and nervously giggle. As the show develops, the cast gets bolder and there is contact. I’m picked up and carried at great speed across the not-overly-large space then dropped. The audience joins in, picking up actors, making connections. Together we ebb and flow like this until a sudden shift happens. As with Blaas, the ending is a theatrical coup that gives the space to us. Time really does slow down as the audience group contemplates its communal response to the situation it is in. Boxes are involved. I’m told that audiences behave very differently at the end of the show from country to country: in Holland they are boisterous; in Germany obedient; and now, in this UK premiere, we’re an odd mix of both.

That I’ve no idea how long the show lasted is perhaps the best accolade – I was there, being in the moment for that time, and I’d happily be there again, for another party in another town.

Up in Campbell Park, IF has built Festival Central, a multi-flagged arena of tents and deck-chairs, Spiegeltent and cinema dome. In the Arabian Tent, IF Creative Director Bill Gee is talking to a trio of producers about the impact of Brexit, current and future. Alison Woods from NoFit State Circus says she’s turning down European bookings for next year because of uncertainty. Dries Verhoeven, whose highly political ghost-train piece Phobiarama is on here, relates the trouble his cast encounter leaving Holland on the basis of how they look, despite all being Dutch.

The only graffiti I’ve noticed in ultra-clean MK has been Brexit-related slogans chalked on pavements, such as: ‘No Deal means No Jobs.’ A faint hammer and sickle was spray-painted on a park bench. Is the town harbouring a sub-culture of revolt alongside its pagan origins? Bill tells us that he has deliberately programmed more European and foreign events than in previous years. We hope it’s not now or never.


Cocina Publica. PHoto by Adelano

La Cocina Publica. PHoto by Adelano


The way that art can bring us together is warmly demonstrated by Teatro Container’s La Cocina Publica. This Chilean band of cooks, theatre makers and musicians pitch their container in a space accessible to a community and invite locals along to swap recipes and stories, to make decorations, to put on a show and share a meal. First seen in the UK in Tilbury Docks, it makes its touring premiere in West Bletchley, on a patch of green near the community centre and the local shops. Here I meet Keith from Yorkshire who is a bit nervous about being MC at the show on Saturday. There are ladies sharing food memories at the tables and I write down mine; others are making aprons from strips of coloured fabric. Doing the groundwork with the community and then just letting the Cocina set-up and get on with stuff, allows a very natural relationship between residents and visiting company to emerge.

People are curious to know what this oldy-worldy kitchen is doing in their manor, what language these exotic looking people speak, why is that man is building a giant table. There are kids prying amongst the pots and pans, community police officers sipping iced tea. Personal histories are uncovered, triggered by the memory of boiled beetroots or fried onions. I chat with kitchen chief Juan about the politics of agriculture and food production. I’d love to see the show that emerges, a mix-tape of recorded stories and poems with Juan on guitar, flags and banners made on-site and 200 people sharing food as the culmination of a process of social integration. You’ll be great Keith. You’re in great company.

Taking people out of their built environment and into nature is the core of Jony Easterby and his fellow artists’ large-scale installation For The Birds. It took over a woodland atop the Sussex Downs in Brighton Festival 2017 and now animates an area of Linford Manor Park just outside MK. The relocation reinforces my opinion that this is a truly wonderful work of art. The individual elements are joyful in themselves but it’s the curation that is so winning.

The setting here is quite linear and follows a path through the park lined on one side by back gardens and on the other by the Grand Union Canal. Occasionally a cyclist whizzes past. It could be distracting but it’s a credit to the artists and the curators that it somehow adds to the experience; it heightens the weirdness of our encounters with, for example, a flock of origami cranes or the squeal of circling fireflies. The audience walks slowly and quietly, finding space as it moves from jungle to rainforest. At points the installations are as simple as just a light up a tree-trunk, or some pretty leaf lit to show off its shadow, encouraging you to look more closely at nature. It’s easy to forget there are miles of cable hidden here – no speakers are visible, yet sound is everywhere.

Where have the parrots gone, the cages are empty but surely I can hear them calling? Cheep cheep chirp goes the Morse code bird. In Kathy Hinde’s film, a Bavarian bird whistler is doing a wood-pigeon and getting a song back from the distant trees. Most pieces are subtle and similar in scale: you can get up close to see tiny bellows open and close with a cuckoo’s toot, or watch the recorders singing. Walk-ways are defined but there are twists and surprises along the way, along with changes of medium – there’s even a human communing with nightingales at the end.

It’s the sculptures using feathers that charm me most: Mark Anderson’s Feather Dervish exploits their simple structure and amazing strength; beautifully illuminated as they spin so very fast they almost dissolve. I could watch them for hours. For The Birds transforms the landscape whilst staying in harmony with it. The art works with, not against the woodland and flora, and this is what makes it so bewitching. For a festival that values and celebrates the richness of everyday and extraordinary encounters, it’s a great contribution.

Leaving the park, I passed a stone circle folly, chunks of old rock from the ancient quarry. Perhaps it’s keeping an eye on Avebury and Stonehenge, and on MK glittering away in the distance.


For the Birds: Photo Shaun Armstrong

For the Birds: Photo Shaun Armstrong


Featured image (top): For the Birds. Photo Shaun Armstrong.

Milton Keynes’ International Festival took place 20–29 July 2018. For further information, see the website.


Thick and Tight: A Night with Thick and Tight

Naming your company something so un-searchable (believe me, I Googled) is a serious mark of intent, and beneath the grand Guignol make-up and extravagant costumes, Daniel Hay-Gordon (Thick) and Eleanor Perry (Tight) are creating something seriously good.

The trio of performances opens with a modernist ballet, Queen Have and Miss Haven’t, pitching Queen Victoria against Miss Havisham in a mourning battle. Beautifully framed on the small stage with hooped gowns (by Tim Spooner and Yolanda Sonnabend) just skirting the walls, and limbs missing each other by millimetres, the striking couple go full-blast for pathos. Hair wrenching and breast beating their way through complex choreography that is full of gesture and expression, they compete for the misery prize. Whose loss is greatest, the young widow or the jilted bride? Messiaen’s stirring Turangalila Symphony is a tremendous score for them to dance with and against. Lit with a rich colour palette that makes great use of shadows, it’s a thrilling ride.

The Princess and The Showgirl is another interpretation of the lives of others, which is Thick and Tight’s particular interest. This time it is Princess Diana and Marilyn Monroe. The parallel journey of these two unfortunate females intercuts text from Marilyn’s films and interviews with Diana. Being cleansed of make-up and lavish wigs we can see how gloriously expressive the performers’ faces are. Hay-Gordon excels as Marilyn, expertly lip-synching lines from interviews and films, capturing her flashing eyes and wide smile. The piece is elegantly structured in the way it mixes film extracts, including a hilarious snogging scene from Some Like It Hot (Tony Curtis is played by Thom Shaw) and verbatim recordings. ‘Can you cook?’ a male voice asks Diana. ‘Well, I did a cookery course’ simpers Perry, mischievously doe-eyed. Prince Charles talks out of his arse, of course; Michael Jackson (a convincing Harry Alexander) moon-dances his eulogy to Diana, of course. There is drama and tension as the women are hounded and cornered, reflected in movement that switches from sensuous to rugged. Perry is all angles and pointed feet, maintaining dignity whilst dying inside. Hay-Gordon is a voluptuous siren gradually being diminished, arms swirling and back arching. A strident duet played against a film of a road tunnel may not be subtle but it works and how those eyes shine in the lights. Those pale blue eyes, as the final music track goes (thanks, Lou Reed). Daniel and Eleanor’s eyes look out at us – the characters have left the stage, the dancers remain, and that final look will definitely linger on.

It’s a bold and generous move to programme someone else’s solo into your own show to cover your costume change, but Radical Daughters, made by Thick and Tight on one of my all-time favourite dancers, Julie Cunningham, works beautifully as a counterpoint between Thick and Tight’s own performances. Cunningham’s poise and technical ability, a highlight of many Michael Clark Company works, is eloquently at play in this piece about Claude Cahun (whom she uncannily resembles) and Marcel Moore. Tim Spooner’s costume of long-johns with a pink behind and a pink palm is a bit of a puzzle, but Cunningham would be an electrifying presence on stage in a tea-towel. Look at that extension! Admire that line! There is emotion in every movement here, from a slithering, humped crawl across the floor to deft leaps and whip-fast turns, timed to the beat of Neu!’s propulsive score.

Once again the Marlborough Theatre demonstrates the might of its programming muscle (you can decide which muscle) and whilst it is a privilege to see work of this stature in such an intimate space, Thick and Tight could and should be filling bigger theatres. Original, inspired and fantastically talented, their star will surely rise.