As we wait for the show to start we’re treated to the sound of Dean Martin singing ‘That’s Amore’. Knot is a love story – but one whose Facebook relationship status might read ‘it’s complicated’.

Nikki (Rummer) and JD (Broussé) arrive on stage and announce themselves. They’re dressed in baggy, neutral coloured rehearsal wear. They tell us about how they met. They talk about previous relationships. As JD talks about Aurelie, Nikki gives him sidelong looks and there’s a small wry smile on her face. As Nikki talks about Leo, JD shifts uncomfortably, and gives us a magnificently French ‘pfff’.

They move away from the mics and onto the floor, stripping off a layer as they go, for the first of a number of gorgeous sequences combining acrobatics, contact dance, and hand-to-hand (the piece is choreographed with Lost Dog’s Ben Duke). The soundtrack is a smooth and mellow jazz track. Such fluid, graceful movement. Cradling herself into JD’s body, as they both lie on the floor, Nikki tells us that she needs a man who can lift her, support her. She outlines what she loves about his skin, his chest, his hands, the musculature of his arms.

Now standing, the lifts and drops and balances become more energetic, intense. But something’s going wrong. ‘Let’s do that one again’ she says. There’s an argument. She leaves. Not just off the stage, but right out of the room, down the stairs – trip, trap, trip, trap. JD is left alone. ‘I can do things by himself’ he says petulantly, giving us a warrior pose. Now what? He waits nervously for her return, then calls for her. Nothing, and then – thank God! – trip trap trip trap, back she comes. There’s a gorgeously sulky sequence, Nikki balanced at full arm’s length high on his hand, her arms crossed, a grumpy expression on her face. When it’s her turn to be left alone onstage, she’s better at coping, giving us cheery solo pirouettes and cartwheels, channelling the girl gymnast she once was.

Back together again, more chat: he’s the person she shares her 2-4-1 railcard with, the person whose body she knows better than anyone else’s, the person she sees more than anyone else, who she shares a bed with, but things aren’t quite as they seem. There’s a twist to the tale….

The rest of the piece plays out with new information on the table (I won’t say what), as the two explore what it means to be ‘together’. There is a very lovely sequence, to Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ ‘I Am a Portrait of a Man’ – exploring masculinity, unsurprisingly, with some thought-provoking revelations about each performer’s relationship with their father.

Knot isn’t a ‘big wow’ show, but rather, a gently clever piece that merges autobiographical storytelling, dance and acrobatics beautifully. The love and commitment between these two shines out from the stage, and it feels an honour to spend an hour in their company. That’s Amore, indeed.

Knot is presented in association with Jacksons Lane

 

Dorothy Max Prior

Dorothy Max Prior

Dorothy Max Prior is the editor of Total Theatre Magazine, and is also a performer, writer, dramaturg and choreographer working in theatre, dance, live art and street arts. Under her alter-ego Dorothy’s Shoes she creates performance work that both honours and usurps the traditions of popular dance and theatre, and plays with the relationship between performer and audience. Much of her work is sited in public spaces or in venues other than regular theatres. She is also co-director of street theatre/dance company The Ragroof Players.

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